The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is seeking to remove scrap parts used for manufacturing from allowed import lists (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) is seeking to remove scrap parts used for manufacturing from allowed import lists which either contribute to polluting the environment or can be supplied locally, as specified in Decision No.73/2014/QD-TTg.

Deputy Minister Le Cong Thanh told a press conference, held in Hanoi on July 17, that this decision would help prevent Vietnam from becoming a destination for scraps from other countries, and was in response to recent concerns about the large backlog of scrap imports in the country.

The proposal has been sent to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Thanh noted

Furthermore, Vietnam needs to focus on developing and importing advanced, environmentally-friendly technologies to gradually reduce the inflow of scrap imports and accelerate the recycling of domestic wastes, he suggested.

Total waste imports in 2017 doubled those from the previous year with big surges seen in imports of iron, steel, plastic, and paper scraps, said Hoang Van Thuc, Vice Director of the Vietnam Environmental Administration (VEA), at the press conference.

Notably, the volume of imported plastic scraps in the first five months of 2018 almost doubled the total figure of last year. Most of the imported scraps have been stuck at ports in Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, he added.

Data from the HCM City Customs Department and the Saigon Newport Corporation show that as of June 26, up to 4,480 containers of scraps had remained at ports managed by the corporation for at least 30 days. These included 3,464 containers in Cat Lai Port.

Some 1,244 scrap containers have been stored at ports in Hai Phong.

It was estimated that about 20 percent of imports were paper, while the rest was plastics and other types of scrap material.

Regarding solutions to clear the large number of scrap containers being left at ports for an extended duration, Thuc said customs offices at the ports will be asked to closely work with the VEA to track down consignees of the containers and handle these cases in compliance with regulations.

Any containers left unclaimed for more than 90 days will be sorted out and treated according to Circular No.203/2014/TT-BTC, issued by the Ministry of Finance, which offers a guideline for the handling of backlogged goods within areas of customs operation, he stated.

The ports will also be requested to carefully check the environmental permits of the imported scrap containers before allowing them to be unloaded, he added.

For the long term, the MoNRE and other related ministries and authorities will be revising legal documents on the management of waste imports, taking into account environmental protection, as well as putting into place a mechanism to manage, control, and prevent the trade and import of scraps from afar.

According to the Sai Gon New Port Corporation, the volume of scraps coming to Vietnam's seaports has piled up dramatically since the beginning of the year due to impact of China’s recent ban on imports of plastic scrap from the European Union, the US, and Japan, who are now sending them to other Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam. –VNA