Toxic battery waste in Vietnam port raises concerns
by Thanh Nien Daily
10 February 2006 (Vietnam) – Two thousand tons of toxic drained batteries, imported illegally from Japan and destined for third countries, have been lying for five months in Vietnam’s Hai Phong port, violating local and international laws.
According to the People’s Committee of the northern city, the hazardous waste, which arrived in 100 containers, were imported without a Vietnamese permit.
Tran Ngoc Dam, a senior city customs official, said if the lead battery waste did not leave Vietnam by Feb 28, his agency would refer the matter to the General Department of Customs.
But Vu Tho, deputy head of the local Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said customs agencies did not fulfill their duties and were to blame for the situation.
The General Department of Customs replied that between early 2004 and September 2005 hundreds of thousands of tons of the scrap were successfully transported via Hai Phong to third countries.
Waste lead and acid batteries, either whole or crushed, are characterized as “hazardous” by the Basel Convention – a global agreement dedicated to addressing challenges posed by hazardous wastes – of which Vietnam is a member.
Under the convention, transportation of toxic wastes through Vietnam requires permission from the country’s central agency and competent authorities from exporting countries.
Source: Tuoi Tre – Translated by Hoang Bao
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