Polluting company granted with environmental award

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Residents in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue have petitioned against a foreign-invested company, which was awarded a prize for environment-friendly enterprises last year, for causing pollution to the surrounding residential areas.

The Luksvaxi cement plant, operated under the Hong Kong-invested Luks Group, was granted the "Sustainable Green Brand" award by the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (Vusta) last June.

The annual award aims to honor businesses that comply with Vietnamese and international rules on environmental protection. The title that Luks Vietnam received was the most honorable prize in this category.

Residents in two villages of Huong Van District have recently lodged petitions to provincial authorities saying the company's production had polluted the water and residents had suffered from dust and noise from the plant since 2005.

They said they had to live with pollution everyday, all year long.

The areas around the plant were covered with dust, and green trees and plants have withered and turned gray.

Nguyen Van Duc of Son Cong Village said no strict measures had been taken by local authorities to tackle dust pollution.

"We have lodged petitions to all levels, from commune to provincial authorities, but dust is still dust," he said.

The outraged residents repeatedly flock to the plant to protest and ask company leaders to tackle pollution to no avail.

The provincial People's Committee on May 6 told the press the "Sustainable Green Brand" was presented by Vusta without the knowledge of local government.

Ho Huy Liem, Vusta's vice chairman, told Thanh Nien the organizers of the prize may have made some mistakes while assessing the company's papers to register for the prize.

"They may have forgotten to collect opinions from the local government about this company," he said.

The prize will be revoked if evidence about their polluting acts is available, he added.

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