Pollution at Vietnam power plant persists despite public outcry

By Que Ha, Thanh Nien News

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A photo taken on January 25, 2016 shows the Vinh Tan 2 thermal power plant in Binh Thuan Province still dumping coal slag into an open landfill. Photo: Que Ha A photo taken on January 25, 2016 shows the Vinh Tan 2 thermal power plant in Binh Thuan Province still dumping coal slag into an open landfill. Photo: Que Ha

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A coal power plant in central Vietnam continued to pollute the environment even after it had been fined for violations, officials said. 
Government leaders of Binh Thuan Province checked the Vinh Tan 2 thermal power plant on Monday and found out coal slag from the plant remained a major air pollution problem in the area.
The plant dumped the slag in a 64-hectare landfill but failed to water the area constantly, sending dust into the air.
Officials also found that the company still used uncovered dump trucks to carry coal and slag to the dump site.
Nguyen Duc Hoa, vice chairman of the province, said the plant has “failed to take effective measures to reduce pollution.”
Vinh Tan 2 started operation in September 2014 and has discharged around 1,500 metric tons of slag per day.
Residents living near the plant said they suffered from coal dust and emissions from the plant and that their children had pneumonia.
The trucks used to transport coal residues from Vinh Tan 2 thermal power plant in Binh Thuan Province. Photo: Que Ha
The Vietnam Environment Administration fined the plant around VND1.5 billion ($69,510) for its environmental violations in December 2014.
But as the problem persisted, thousands of people in the province joined a 30-hour protest in April last year, causing severe traffic congestion extending 20 kilometers on National Highway 1A outside the plant.
Police said there were clashes between people and officers who tried to move them away from the road, and that 17 officers were injured.
A Binh Thuan court sentenced seven locals involved in the protest to six to nine months in jail last December.

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