Within 12 years, a coal mining company in Quang Ninh province has filled a valley and nearly buried a whole stream.
Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Quoc Trung from the Environmental Agency of the Ministry of Public Security told Dan Tri online newspaper that police have collected enough evidence to accuse the PT.VIETMINDO ENERGITAMA (PTVE), a Vietnamese-Indonesian joint venture company, of making the most serious violation of environmental protection laws.
On November 25, 2009, environment police and inspectors of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment made a surprise inspection at PTVE and they discovered many environmental protection violations.
The extremely serious nature of these violations includes the discharge of solid waste (soil and stones) to fill up a valley and block the flow of a stream named Uong Thuong Dong to create a 2000 square meter lake. The remaining section of this stream is only 700m long and it has been narrowed by PTVE’s waste.
The Uong Thuong stream (including Uong Thuong Dong and Uong Thuong Tay) is one of the three streams that make the Vang Dang stream supplying water to the Lan Thap – Uong Bi water plant and the major source of water for Mieu Than village in Uong Bi district, Quang Ninh province (the land of coal in Vietnam).
|The current Uong Thuong Dong stream.|
According to Lan Thap water plant, the input water from Vang Danh has been heavily polluted. During rainy days, mud discharged from coal mining covered the plant’s pipes and the factory had to stop operation.
PTVE has discharged solid waste to the valley and blocked the stream for 12 years. It has been visited by 15 groups of inspectors, but the company has been fined only twice, totaling 18 million dong ($1000).
Mieu Than villagers have complained of the serious pollution to the Uong Thuong Dong stream. PTVE’s untreated waste water is also discharged to Uong Thuong Tay stream.