Vietnam Waste Solutions calls for stepping up green tree belt project

Vietnam Waste Solutions (VWS) is calling for stepping up the green tree belt project surrounding Da Phuoc Waste Treatment Complex in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Chanh district, which has been delayed for 10 years.

The information was stressed at the recent survey trip to the Da Phuoc complex by a delegation of the Economics and Budget Committee under the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council. After the trip, the delegation had a meeting with relevant departments and agencies to discuss issues.

Speaking at the meeting, Trieu Do Hong Phuoc, head of the Economics and Budget Committee, said that the purpose of the trip is to monitor the progress of the green tree belt surrounding Da Phuoc Waste Treatment Complex, according to the approved plan. The delegation also talked about the letters of complaint related to public investment projects in Binh Chanh district.

Huynh Thi Lan Phuong, deputy general director of VWS, cited the contract signed between VWS and the city’s regulatory bodies on Da Phuoc Waste Treatment Complex. Accordingly, the city is in charge of planning, site clearance, compensation, and tree planting activities on a total area of over 300 hectares. Once implemented, the project will directly affect approximately 800 households living around the Da Phuoc complex.

To implement this project, the Binh Chanh district People’s Committee is responsible for conducting a survey on land ownership of relevant households. A decade ago, the total estimated cost for the green tree belt was VND1.069 trillion ($46.48 million), which was included in the city’s capital source for the medium term.

“However, the project has remained idle over the past decade. VWS has made several proposals to the municipal People’s Committee to allow the company to implement the project from its own capital under the build-transfer model. However, the project has been stagnant for many reasons. Meanwhile, compensation costs have surged to over VND2 trillion ($86.96 million) without a specific date for implementation,” she said.

According to VWS’s report, over the past three years, the 1.5km road section from National Road 50 to Da Phuoc Waste Treatment Complex has become dilapidated for reasons like the lack of management and funds for maintenance and cleaning activities. Meanwhile, over 500 trips of garbage trucks travel through the route a day to dump about 1,000 tonnes of garbage. At the peak season like the recent Lunar New Year, more than 2,000 tonnes of garbage were sent to the landfill, making the situation more serious.

“Due to the prolonged lack of maintenance, the road has become severely degraded, affecting the traffic flow of garbage vehicles. At an intersection leading to National Highway 50, garbage trucks have spread leachate all over the street, causing pollution and affecting people’s lives. VWS is in charge of the areas starting from the bridge leading to the landfill while Ho Chi Minh City Urban Environment Co., Ltd. is responsible for the outside area. However, local residents have filmed garbage trucks leaking leachate on the road and accused VWS for these violations,” she said.

Proposal to accelerate the development of the green tree belt

Pham Luong Bang, the representative of Binh Chanh district’s site clearance and compensation committee said that the construction of the green tree belt surrounding the Da Phuoc complex can affect 772 households. Binh Chanh district has made adjustments by raising the project’s investment capital to VND2.2 trillion ($95.65 million), more than double the initial capital of VND1.08 trillion ($46.13 million).

He added that in March 2019, the district submitted a plan to the municipal leaders to adjust investment capital and compensation payment for local residents. The biggest challenge is the resettlement of 772 households who are affected by the project.

Meanwhile, the representative of the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) said that the green tree belt bordering the Da Phuoc complex has been delayed for years due to slow site clearance.

Cao Thanh Binh, deputy head of the Economics and Budget Committee urged the relevant departments and agencies to complete documents for the project, especially estimates for maintenance costs. In addition, the relevant departments should clarify which units are in charge of road maintenance.

“The green tree belt bordering the Da Phuoc Waste Treatment Complex was greenlighted by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Council in the investment period 2016-2019. The municipal council has prioritised allocating the capital of VND902 billion ($39.22 million) for the project. The amount reflects the importance the council attaches to the project. However, Binh Chanh district has made slow progress in site clearance activities,” he said.

Phuoc said that the municipal leaders have paid great attention to the project by prioritising capital allocation. However, the municipal council is deeply concerned about the slow progress of the project despite the capital allocation priority over the medium term.

“It will affect other projects which are in need of capital. Therefore, we call for more attention and better co-ordination among relevant departments and agencies to step up the project,” he said.

Who is responsible for the road?

Binh also requested the relevant departments to report on the degraded road leading to Da Phuoc Waste Treatment Complex.

The representative of the Ho Chi Minh city Management Board for Solid Waste Treatment Complexes (MBS) under the DNRE said that the municipal People’s Committee assigned MBS to manage the road three years ago. The board has hired Ho Chi Minh City Urban Environment to clean the road. However, the plan was not approved by the DNRE as MBS does not have competence over road maintenance and repair.

Meanwhile, the representative of the DNRE said that the department is responsible for infrastructure maintenance. However, the city did not assign the road to the department so it could not prepare an estimate for annual maintenance costs.

Similarly, the representative of the Department of Construction said that it is in charge of taking care of trees, lighting, and drainage infrastructure. However, the road was not assigned to it by the city, so it does not have the right to estimate annual maintenance costs either.

Commenting on these issues, Phuoc said that in the coming time, the provincial People’s Council will discuss the fate of this road. The Economics and Budget Committee will also send a report to the municipal standing People’s Council as well as assign MBS to make specific plans to resolve the issues.

The committee is committed to co-ordinating with other departments and agencies to solve the issues by the end of this year, including identifying the responsibilities of relevant units and preparing funding for road maintenance.

By B.Minh- Xuan Thai

Vietnam Waste Solutions calls for stepping up green tree belt project

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