Noise, vibration, and odor are environmental issues that are especially familiar to citizens. In urban areas of Vietnam, noise and air pollution due to the increasing number of automobiles has become a serious concern. The main cause of the noise is the heavy traffic jam caused not only by the surging number of automobiles but also by the citizens’ low awareness of traffic rules and poor manner. In fact, the major noise source in Vietnam is motorcycle engine noise and horns. Dust, smoke, and noise emitted from industrial parks also accelerates the deterioration of the urban environment in the country. Factories in industrial parks should measure their exhaust gas and noise on a regular basis, but in fact, they rarely perform such measurement due to its costs and immaturity of technology.

In August 2014, a local cement factory that emitted noise exceeding the legal limits by 15 decibels was imposed a fine of 120 million dong (about 5180 USD) by the environmental authority of Quan Binh Province. (This amount should include fine for other violations in addition to the noise as the factory had been found to violate other environmental laws.)

Another example of environmental offence is environmental pollution caused by Lee & Man, a major Chinese paper manufacturer, at areas surrounding its factory in Hau Giang Province[1]. The Mai Zam Town’s People Committee of the Province explained that about 60 households were suffering from odors. Mr. Le Thi Hong, age of 50, a resident of the Chau Thanh district, said that he was deeply concerned about the odors and coal dust because they are threatening his family’s health, especially his 5-year-old niece.  Then an investigation was conducted on the pollution generated by a waste treatment facility of the Lee & Man’s plant by a team of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Hau Giang Province. According to a report published by the investigation team, Lee & Man admitted that it had generated noise, dust, and odors and affected houses around the plant. Such pollution was caused by coal dust from the coal yard. As corrective measures, the company planned to install dust nets around the coal yard and to plant trees behind the yard to prevent the scattering of coal dust. In addition, to reduce noise generated from its coal power plant, the company also planned to conduct noise tests and to install deodorizing equipment to sludge storage tanks at the wastewater treatment plant. The corrective measures taken by Lee & Man are summarized below.

Table: Corrective measures taken by Lee & Man

Pollution Corrective measures
Odor Installation of deodorizing equipment to sludge storage tanks at the wastewater treatment plant
Noise Installation of silencer to the coal-fired power plants and soundproofing equipment to wall surfaces
Dust Installation of dust nets around the coal yard and plantation of trees to prevent scattering of dust
Wastewater Stopping the use of sodium hydroxide and employing an alternative substance in the manufacturing process

 

Vietnamese legal framework on noise

The Law on Environmental Protection (No. 55/2014/QH13), which was renewed in 2014, prohibits to generate noise or vibration exceeding the acceptable levels stipulated in relevant technical regulations (QVCN) (Article 7 of the Law on Environmental Protection). In addition, business establishments are obliged to limit noise and vibration that affect the surrounding environment and employees (Articles 68, 70, and 73). Households are also prohibited from making noise or vibration exceeding the acceptable levels (Article 82). So, any entity that creates noise or vibration must take measures to control and treat them in accordance with environmental standards. Particularly, manufacturing and business establishments in residential areas that create noise must take measures to minimize them to avoid affecting the local community (Article 103).

The National Technical Regulation on Noise (QCVN 26:2010/BTNMT) has been promulgated together with the MONRE Circular No. 39/2010/TT-BTNMT. This technical regulation has replaced the previous national standards (TCVN5949:1998). The technical regulation prohibits generating noise exceeding the permissible limits in special or normal areas as indicated below.

Table: Permissible limits on noise (equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure Level)
(unit: dBA)

No. Area 6 am to 9 pm 9 pm to 6 am (next day)
1 Special area[2] 55 45
2 Normal area[3] 70 55

The Decree on Penalties for Administrative Violations Against Regulations on Environmental Protection (No. 155/2016/ND-CP) sets penalties for diverse environmental offences. For example, a fine up to 160 million dong (about 6900 USD) will be imposed on those who produce noise exceeding the above-mentioned permissible limits. Furthermore, the violator’s activities may be suspended for up to 12 months (Article 17 of the Decree No. 155/2016/ND-CP).

 

Vietnamese legal framework on vibration

The National Technical Regulation on Vibration (QCVN 27:2010/BTNMT) has been promulgated together with the MONRE Circular No. 39/2010/TT-BTNMT. This technical regulation has replaced the previous national standards (TCVN6962:2001). Under this technical regulation, construction and other business establishments are prohibited from producing vibration exceeding the permissible limits in special or normal areas as indicated below.

Table: Permissible limits on vibration acceleration in construction

No. Area Time of application Permissible limits of vibration acceleration, dB
1 Special area[4] 6 am to 6 pm 75
6 pm to 6 am (next day) Base level[5]
2 Normal area[6] 6 am to 9 pm 75
9 pm to 6 am (next day) Base level

Table: Permissible limits on vibration acceleration in production, trading, and service provision

No. Area Time of application and permissible limits of vibration acceleration, dB
6 am to 9 pm 9 pm to 6 am (next day)
1 Special area 60 55
2 Normal area 70 60

* The definitions of special and normal areas are the same as those for construction shown above.

As stated above, the Decree on Penalties for Administrative Violations Against Regulations on Environmental Protection (No. 155/2016/ND-CP) sets penalties for diverse environmental offences. For example, a fine up to 170 million dong (about 7330 USD) will be imposed on those who produce vibration exceeding the above-mentioned permissible limits. Furthermore, the violator’s activities may be suspended for up to 12 months (Article 18 of the Decree No. 155/2016/ND-CP).

 

Vietnamese legal framework on odor

In Vietnam, there are no standards or regulations on odor. The Law on Environmental Protection prohibits to emit any gas containing toxic agents or smells into the air (Article 7 of the Law on Environmental Protection), but there is no detailed rule for this provision. Therefore, there is no effective control on odor in the country to date.

 

[1] https://english.thesaigontimes.vn/53262/vietnam-lee-man-admits-causing-environmental-pollution.html
https://vietnamnews.vn/environment/374003/mekong-factory-admits-to-pollution.html#02LV9P02f43z6GRc.97

[2]  Areas within the boundary of the medical services, library, kindergartens, schools, churches, temples, pagodas and other areas.

[3]  Includes residential areas, houses, hotels, administrative offices.

[4] Areas within the boundary of the medical services, library, kindergartens, schools, churches, temples, pagodas and other areas.

[5] The level of vibration already existing in the surveyed area.

[6] Includes residential areas, houses, hotels, administrative offices.

 

Related Reports