Cloud of Uncertainty Hangs over Polluting Factory
Confusion remains as to whether the recycling factory in Vientiane’s Xaysettha district will cease operations even though the capital authority has ordered the business be permanently suspended.
Several media outlets such as Lao Economic Daily and Socio-Economic newspapers and the weekly Vientiane Business-Social have reported about the local community suffering from air pollution and bad smells coming from a nearby recycling factory in the district’s Doung village last week.
Vientiane Department of Industry and Commerce’s announcement dated September 9 ordered the owner to stop factory operations. The announcement also mentioned about illegal authorisation of the business and the residential area not being zoned for such an industrial activity.
Lao Economic Daily reported the factory had yet to follow the announcement with the media outlet referring to the factory director who said he has proposed that the business continue operations and promised improvements.
According to the newspaper, the director claimed he ran machines from 8am until 5pm while nearby residents said the factory worked until midnight.
Local officials say the villagers had been directly affected by pollution coming from the plant which processed waste from a brewery. It has been operating for over one year releasing clouds of fumes and dirty foul smelling water.
Doung village Chief Mr. Sinakhone Khottaphom said the factory had been operated regularly and ran at full capacity at night causing greater environmental impact than in the day.
He said his authority had already reported the impacts to the Vientiane People’s Council for inspection and addressing.
Vientiane’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment reported to the Vientiane Mayor on June 23 on the factory’s impact on the local community and environment.
Established in 2014, the recycle plant uses waste from Lao brewery to produce animal feed supplies for CP Lao, CP Thai, and some livestock farms in Vientiane.
The factory director recently told the weekly Socio-Economic newspaper that they could not stop operations because it would affect supplies to their customers and the factory would be penalised by its customers.
Vientiane Times yesterday attempted to contact relevant authorities such as Vientiane’s Department of Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Department of Pollution Control to ask about whether the factory manager’s claims were justified.
However, the attempt was not successful, with some officials being busy with meetings while others claimed they could not comment on the sensitive issue.
Source: Vientiane Times