Vietnam plans to burn waste for renewable energy in big cities

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The landfills in Hanoi won’t be able to accept more garbage by 2012.

With the low ratio of land per capita, Vietnam will have to consider burning waste instead of expanding dumping grounds.

The actual volume of waste is very big

“We are discussing the waste treatment, but we still do not know exactly how much waste needs to be burnt per year,” said Dr Nguyen Trung Viet from the HCM City Department for Natural Resources and the Environment.

According to Viet, by June 2011, Hanoi, HCM City and Da Nang had sent periodic reports abut the industrial waste and hazardous waste.

The Government has allowed to set up 18 industrial zones and high tech zones, 13 small and medium industrial parks with thousands of industrial workshops in Hanoi. However, only 500 enterprises have registered the owners of the waste sources and the volume of hazardous waste. However, experts say the figures about the waste volume reported by the owners of the waste resources do not truly reflect the situation.

It is estimated that the volume of solid industrial waste in Da Nang is about 20-30 tons per day, while the figures are 100 tons in Hanoi and 900-1200 tons in HCM City. However, the actual figures would be much higher, according to Dr Viet.

In HCM City, there are about 12,000 industrial workshops, but only 2500 have registered the owners of the waste sources. In Da Nang, it is very difficult to define the volume and composition of industrial waste. Since solid industrial waste can be recycled, they are collected and carried to 800 recycling workshops in the city. It is really a difficult task to manage the waste sources.

Recycling waste is the key

Experts have warned that the current rubbish dumps would be able to exist for 20 years more, while the landfills in Hanoi would become overloaded by 2012. Therefore, they said recycling rubbish with modern technologies is the thing that needs to be done.

Dr Dang Kim Chi said that burying waste is the low cost solution for the countries with big land funds, while Vietnam is not among such the countries: the ratio of land per capita is very low, just higher than that in Singapore or Hong Kong.

Environment experts say that it will take about five billion dong to set up a landfill with the area of five hectares. Meanwhile, the expansion of the rubbish dumping grounds leads to the natural resource waste. Besides, Vietnam will still have to pay for the collection, transportation, dumping. Especially, this badly affects people’s health.

The rubbish burning for renewable energy would help reduce the landfill area by eight times. Instead of 20,000 hectares, Vietnam will just need 2000 hectares and it will not have to worry about the rubbish dumping in the next 100 years.

Meanwhile, Vietnam can use the remaining 18,000 hectares for many other purposes which can bring much more money.

Chi has emphasized that the incineration technology should only be applied in big cities like Hanoi and HCM City, and should not be used in all provinces. Hanoi and HCM City are the two cities with the high volumes of rubbish.

“It is necessary to build high-capacity factories and use modern technologies. We should keep away from low cost technologies,” Chi said.

Dr Nguyen Huy Nga, Director of the Environment Management Agency under the Ministry of Health, agrees with Chi that it is necessary to apply modern technologies. According to him, the hazardous medical waste volume is about 40 tons per day, and the figure is forecast to be double by 2020. If no proper solution is applied to treat the waste, the hazardous waste will do harm to people’s health.

“The environment crisis is coming. And if we don’t do anything, this means that we accept the crisis,” said Dr Tran Hieu Nhue, a well known environment expert.

Source: Vietnam Net

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