Vietnam:
Preliminary Site Assessments in Bac Ninh

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Project Partners

Centre for Environment and Community Development (CECoD)

Bac Ninh Department of Natural Resources and Environment

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In 2018 and 2019, Pure Earth and CECoD worked with Bac Ninh Department of Natural Resources and Environment and other local authorities to complete the assessment of 10 sites in Bac Ninh province of Vietnam under the TSIP framework. Based on the results, three sites were identified for further investigations to develop preliminary site assessment (PSA): (i) Man Xa Craft Village (for aluminum recycling), (ii) Dai Bai Craft Village (for copper fine art products) and (iii) Chau Khe Craft Village (for steel recycling).

Max Xa Craft Village (Aluminum Recycling)

Man Xa is a craft village focused on the recycling of aluminum waste. There are around 200 aluminum smelters there and an estimate of over 4,000 residents. The village is highly polluted due to the recycling and smelting activities, which are generally done with no air pollution controls. Waste from the smelting and recycling activities is deposited in extensive piles in and just outside the village. The waste dust deposited throughout the village is contaminated with lead as a result of the use of lead fluxes in the smelting process.

A team from Pure Earth and CECoD visited Man Xa and neighboring Quan Do (also in Van Mon) in March and April of 2017 to conduct initial assessments of environmental problems and levels of contamination. Lead and arsenic were measured at very high levels. Further visits to Man Xa and nearby areas were done in November 2018 and January 2019 by the Pure Earth and CECoD team. This assessment found and documented extensive pollution and lead contamination in the village.  A comprehensive environmental plan was developed and presented to key stakeholders, notably government officials, at a workshop on January 23, 2019. The plan outlined key elements and the sequence needed.

However, the work cannot proceed until the active sources of lead contamination – the smelters – are moved or controlled and the extensive waste piles in and around the village are properly disposed.  Any action taken now would be undone by the continuing active contamination sources. The comprehensive environmental plan presents the steps to be taken to reach a point where remediation and risk reduction action is feasible.

Dai Bia Craft Village (Bronze/Copper Fine Art Products)

Dai Bai is famous for bronze products, and now makes bronze and aluminum products mainly from copper and aluminum scrap. The commune has a dedicated industrial cluster which is not large enough to hold all of the area production units. About 170 small production workshops continue to be active, scattered in the living areas of the surrounding villages. These smelters, and the emissions, dust and slag they create, are the source of pollution in the village, most notably lead contamination.

Most notably, 10 slag piles were found in various areas of the village.Testing also showed that lead contamination of soil is also becoming an issue for Dai Bai commune, particularly in gardens or along roads and alleys close to smelters or slag piles.

Chau Khe Craft Village (Steel Recycling)

Chau Khe Craft Village specializes in the production of steel products.  Production generates smoke, dust, solid wastes and wastewater. By the location of the industrial cluster, smoke and dust may contain zinc and impact the workers and to some extent the villages to the west and north. There are small production units still remaining inside the living area.