Port 368 located on the Diễn Vọng River in the coastal province of Quảng Ninh which stores coal left from a cemetery project by INDEVCO Group. Coal discharged from the port into the river, which runs into Hạ Long Bay, has put the world heritage site at risk of getting polluted. — Photo vov.vn
The river flows through Hoành Bồ District, Cẩm Phả City and Hạ Long City, and runs into Cửa Lục Bay and Hạ Long Bay.
A major port called Port 368 is operating along the river, storing coal.
The water is murky and due to oil discharged from vessels.
The unloading of construction materials also causes air pollution.
According to local people, since 2000 the forests had been totally destroyed and many areas along the river had been used to exploit peat.
“In the past, we transported wood along the clean river. I don’t recognise the river any more as the water is murky and stinks,” said 96-year-old Nguyễn Văn Sinh, a resident of Dương Huy Commune.
“Before, the river was very clean and clear. We could fish on the river. But after more than 20 years of exploiting peat, coal and construction materials, the river is polluted,” Nguyễn Thị Nguyệt, a resident told the paper.
According to the head of Hoành Bồ District’s Natural Resources and Environment Department, Nguyễn Thanh Ân, the ports had been licensed for transporting coal and construction materials.
However, the paper’s reporter found the ports did not have systems in place to collect and treat solid and domestic waste.
Along with licensed activities, the ports had been sorting and cleaning coal, which was not permitted.
368 Port has registered capital of VNĐ100 billion (US$4.2 million) with a capacity of 1 million tonnes per year.
The port, under the Industrial Investment and Development 368 Joint Stock Company, was licensed in 2014 to provide logistical services for importing and exporting construction materials for Quảng Ninh Province and transporting coal from An Lạc Cemetery in Hoành Bồ District.
However, 1km along the Diễn Vọng River, there are several coal yards that are not authorised.
“All coal-related activities must comply with environmental protection regulations,” said an official from the Quảng Ninh Port Management Authority.
Port investors had initially committed to installing waste treatment systems, but after five years nothing has been done.
In recent years, Quảng Ninh has been focused on environmental protection, especially in Hạ Long Bay – a UNESCO heritage site.
The bay is being polluted by wastewater from tour boats and fish cages.
It also facing the threat of being drowned in mud that could lead to a decline in biodiversity.
Three years ago, an environmental group named Waterkeeper Alliance warned that toxic spills and flooding from multiple coal mines would be dangerous for people, animals and nature in Ha Long Bay.
The warning appeared after severe flooding inundating the Lăng Khánh harbour and Diễn Vọng River due to leaks from the Quảng Ninh coal-fired power plant on the waterfront.
If the situation is not dealt, Hạ Long Bay could end up severely polluted and lose its natural value.
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