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Hanoi to Construct Waste-to-Electricity Processing Plants in Response to Growing Trash Issues

In an effort to solve Hanoi’s growing trash problem, the city plants to build multiple waste-processing plants that will convert trash into electricity.

At the moment, waste facilities around Hanoi are unable to cope with the large amount of waste the city produces each day. Authorities believe that building four environmentally-friendly waste plants will help solve the issue.

The Hanoi Department of Construction announced that between 2020 and 2021, the city will build four new waste-to-electricity plants, VietnamNet reports. Of these four, one will be located in the Nam Son Waste Treatment Complex in Soc Son District. Another two facilities will be in the Xuan Son Waste Treatment Zone in Son Tay town. An additional plant will be built in the Dong Ke Solid Waste Treatment Zone in Chuong My District.

Hoang Duong Tung, the former deputy director of the Vietnam Environment Administration, suggested that burying trash is an inefficient use of space and raises environmental concerns.

The Hanoi Construction Department estimates that the city produces nearly 7,000 tons of waste daily. Most of this waste is treated and then buried in two large complexes, according to the news source. The largest is in Soc Son at the Nam Son Waste Treatment Complex. The second is the Xuan Son Solid Waste Treatment Zone in Ba Vi District.

The Nam Son Waste Treatment Complex was designed to operate with a capacity of about 1,000 tons each day. At the moment, the center receives between 4,500 and 5,000 tons daily, almost five times the amount the facility was built to process. The dump is expected to be full by 2020.

The smaller treatment center, Xuan Son Solid Waste Treatment Zone, receives anywhere from 1,200 to 1,500 tons of trash every day. Contaminated water that leaks from the trash can be treated at this center, but, like Nam Son, the garbage is still buried.

Increasing the amount of trash that waste facilities are able to process is central to reducing Vietnam’s environmental footprint. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment estimates that only 40% to 60% of waste across the country ends up in a dump. The rest is disposed of in canals and rivers, ultimately contributing to the dangerous amount of trash in the world's oceans. 

Hanoi’s first new waste treatment center that will convert garbage into electricity is scheduled to begin operating by 2020. The center will be part of the waste treatment complex in Soc Son, and will be designed to process about 4,000 tons of garbage a day. Construction will start by the beginning of next year.

In Xuan Son, the other two new electricity-generating garbage plants are scheduled to begin construction in April 2019. They should have a capacity to process 1,500 tons of trash a day. The fourth waste treatment center is waiting for an investor.

Skeptics of the practice say that burning trash for recycling can discourage recycling. Julian Kirby, of Friends of the Earth, told The Guardian: "If you think your waste being burned is a good thing then you are more inclined to just chuck things away rather than recycling them." 

Da Nang also recently announced plans to build a waste-to-electricity treatment center by 2022. Vietnam, meanwhile, aims to reduce pollution through a variety of measures, including by banning motorbikes in certain urban areas by 2030. 

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