*On November 17, 2020, the National Assembly of Vietnam enacted the Law on Environmental Protection 2020 (72/2020/QH14). The law consists of many regulations, including climate change, ozone depleting substances, POPs, EPR for some products, BAT, environmental monitoring, inspection, etc. Please see the details of it on the following:
- Brief report: the Law on Environmental Protection 2020 of Vietnam (1) – Rules responding to Stockholm Convention on POPs
- Brief report: the Law on Environmental Protection 2020 of Vietnam (2) – Recycling of discarded products and packaging materials based on EPR
- Brief Report: Law on Environmental Protection 2020 of Vietnam (3) – Measurements against climate change and ozone depletion
- Brief Report: Law on Environmental Protection 2020 of Vietnam (4) – Hazardous waste management and environmental audit
- Brief Report: Law on Environmental Protection 2020 of Vietnam (5) – Household waste control rules
Vietnamese government is drafting a new law to replace the “Law on Environmental Protection of 2014 (55/2014/QH13)”. Many rules will be revised or newly added to deal with emerging environmental problems in the country. Here, we summarize some remarkable points, that have potential to affect business activities.
Article 72. Environmental protection in the production, export, import, use and handling of POPs and PTS substances and raw materials, materials, products, goods and equipment containing POPs and PTS
This is a new regulation in the LEP draft 2020, consisting of the two main concepts below:
- Strict regulations on environmental protection in manufacturing, exporting, importing, and using POPs, PTS and raw materials, materials, products, goods, and equipment containing POPs and PTS (Appendix A) of the Stockholm Convention that exceeds the maximum permissible level unless the POPs has been registered for exemption under the provisions of the Stockholm Convention. Control and reporting will be required to comply with the provision of the law;
- Stipulating responsibility for implementing environmental protection in the production, export, import and handling of POPs and PTS substances and raw materials, materials, products, goods, and equipment containing POPs and PTS personnel and authorities.
Article 77. Reduction, reuse, recycling and disposal of plastic waste, and pollution prevention against ocean plastic waste
This is a new regulation in the LEP draft 2020, detailing the management of plastic waste: minimizing, collecting, encouraging recycling, and reusing to prevent pollution of plastic waste from ocean plastic.
Article 78. Environmental auditing
This is a new regulation in the LEP draft 2020 to consider environmental auditing as a tool to check and assess legal compliance, as well as the effective implementation of resource-saving, waste management, prevention, minimization of pollution and environmental protection of production, business and service organizations and establishments.
Results of environmental auditing will be used by the state management agency in charge of the environment to serve as documents for inspection, examination, and supervision of environmental protection activities at production establishments and business services.
Article 85. Treatment of conventional industrial solid wastes
Article 85 in the LEP draft 2020 is corresponding to Article 97 in LEP 2014 about industrial solid waste.
The LEP draft 2020 uses the term of “conventional industrial solid waste” to conform to the current provision defined in Clause 12, Article 3 in Decree 40/2019/ND-CP and Article 29 in Decree 38/2015/ND-CP.
The details of this new Article are:
- To regulate roles and responsibilities for applicable entities are owners of manufacturing and business establishments, organizations, households, and individuals that generated conventional industrial and the organizations capable of recycling or processing such wastes.
- To regulate management in accordance with volume of waste generated. In case of waste generated being <300kg/day, the generators may regard the waste as domestic solid waste. And, they shall comply with Article 79 of this Law. On the other hand, the entities that generate solid waste of >300kg/day must be responsibilities for minimizing, recycling wastes, or transfer wastes to the organizations capable of recycling or treating.
Article 95. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
This is a new regulation in the LEP draft 2020 including:
- Definition and a list of greenhouse gases (GHG)
- The following requirements to implement GHG emission reduction by business establishments and governmental agencies:
- To inventory the GHG emission result and send it every two years to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment before December 1 of the reporting period;
- To send an annual report on implementation results of GHG emission reduction plan to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment before every December 31 of the reporting period (for establishments generating GHG), and before January 15 of the subsequent reporting period (for ministries, ministerial-level bodies, and government agencies)
Article 111. Application of the best available techniques (BAT)
This is a new regulation in the LEP draft 2020.
Regulations of the BAT have been applied by many countries around the world. This is a completely new concept in Vietnam, which aims to enhance environmental management and access to technology 4.0. The law provides technical regulations and criteria to identify the best available techniques
Article 145. Responsibilities for recycling of manufacturing and importing organizations and individuals
Articles 145 in the LEP draft 2020 is corresponding to Article 87 in the LEP 2014 related to management of discarded products.
The so-called Vietnamese version of WEEE is also mentioned in this draft, but it differs from the current system in two aspects. The first point is that “packaging materials” is added as a regulated product. Under the Expanded Producer Responsibility (EPR), the draft stipulates three new categories of packaging materials that will be required to be collected and processed: packaging materials of plastic, metal and glass. The second is the introduction of an “environmental protection fund” system to ensure the collection and treatment of discarded products. Manufacturers or importers of regulated products will be required to calculate the cost of collecting and processing their products and pay the Environmental Protection Fund based on these cost. The funds raised will be then distributed to waste disposer who actually collect and treat those discarded products.
Article 174. Investigation and inspection of environmental protection tasks
Article 174 in the LEP draft 2020 is corresponding to Article 159 in LEP 2014 related to environmental inspection and additional responsibilities for organizing and directing investigation and inspection of environmental protection tasks for the Ministry of Public Security, the People’s Committees of districts, and communes.
The law stipulates environmental inspection activities by authorities and its fluency: regular or irregular.
The total number of the inspections does not exceed 1 time per year or 2 times per 2 consecutive years for an organization in accordance with authorities order. This rules is to ensure that investigation and inspection of environmental protection tasks are not overlapping and not affecting production and business activities of organizations and individuals.