Da Nang suspends steel factories after days of pollution protests

Authorities in Vietnam’s central city of Da Nang closed down two steel factories on Wednesday following a prolonged protest by residents complaining about pollution and the city’s failure to deliver on a promise to relocate them. The local government has pledged to come up with a complete plan this week to move residents away from the factories, and many people are hoping that officials mean it this time. “Please stop making promises and excuses,” Pham Mai, a resident, told officials as they met on Wednesday. The $88-million plants, Dana Y and Dana Uc, started operation on an area of 22 hectares (54 acres) in 2006, with only a wall separating them from a residential area. They were designed to produce 700,000 tons of steel products a year. Residents said the plants received approval from authorities, so they should take the blame for the “unbearable” dust and noise that have bothered them for years. Hundreds of people in Hoa Vang District have been protesting outside the factories since Monday night, putting up tents to show their determination to get the situation resolved. “If you cannot fix the pollution, you have to move the plants,” Ngo Chau, a resident, told officials. Either that or the city closes the factories until everyone is moved to a safe zone, said his neighbor Phan Nhan. Phan Nhan, a Da Nang resident, demands the city act to save people from pollution on Wednesday. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong Officials were unable to give a concrete answer at… [Read full story]

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