Some 22 million people depend on local water supplies. With a surface of 1.377 hectares, the farm will raise 2,500 sows and tens of thousands of pigs for slaughter. The farm was built before assessing its environmental impact.
Hanoi (AsiaNews) – A huge pig farm threatens the communities who live on the shores of Tri An Lake and downstream along the Đồng Nai River, which flows through the lake.
The Đồng Nai is the second most important river in southern Vietnam after the Mekong and supplies water to more than 22 million people: 2.8 million in Đồng Nai province, 14 million people in Hồ Chí Minh City and 6 million inhabitants in other nearby regions.
On Monday, Ms Phan Thị Trâm, owner of MTV Limited Company, completed the construction of the farm, which covers 1.377 hectares. At full capacity, it will be able to raise 2,500 sows (heo nái) and tens of thousands of pigs for slaughter (heo thịt).
People who live near the farm have complained about the "illegal structure" which, by dumping waste into the water, risks causing serious health problems to people living near the lake and downstream along the Đồng Nai River.
Locals remember seeing “a lot of strange people' coming here to build the big farm.” Until a few months ago, “the area was dedicated forestry. However, the People's Committee in Định Quán District and Đồng Nai province allowed Ms Phan Thị Trâm to build the huge secret farm, just upstream of the Đồng Nai River."
Some seniors living in the remote area also point out "the farm is at a high risk of flooding, if it started operating. If the waters flooded the farm, all the dirt and pig waste would spill into the lake and river, putting the health of millions of people at risk.”
A senior official with the Environment Ministry, asking that his name not be cited, noted that "the farm was built without the necessary environmental impact assessment (EIA)."
"Only shortly before the end of the works, did the MTV Limited Company allow inspectors to visit the farm. That is wrong and dangerous."
For Dr Phạm Viết Thuận, director of the Economic Institute and Environmental Resources in Hồ Chi Minh City, the behaviour of district and provincial authorities is "unacceptable".
"This pig farm will not only cause a lot of water pollution, but it will also be a source of extremely dangerous epidemics. When the plant releases waste into the water, bacteria and germs will make scores of residents ill.”