According to current Vietnamese environmental protection laws, environmental protection is the legal rights, obligations, and responsibilities of individuals, organizations in general, and businesses when participating in production and business activities.

Overall, environmental protection activities must be conducted regularly, publicly, and transparently. Priority is given to forecasting and preventing pollution, incidents, environmental degradation, and environmental risk management. Furthermore, businesses have the responsibility to minimize waste generation and increase the reuse and recycling of waste to exploit the resource value of waste. This article focus on the regulations on the environmental impact assessment and other business responsibilities

1. Prohibited acts in environmental protection activities

Enterprises should note that during production and business activities, they must not perform the following acts:

  • Transporting, burying, dumping and burning solid waste and hazardous waste against the technical procedures and legal regulations on environmental protection.
  • Discharging wastewater and exhaust gases that have not been treated to meet environmental technical standards into the environment.
  • Dispersing and releasing into the environment toxic substances, harmful viruses capable of infecting humans, animals, untested microorganisms, animal carcasses caused by epidemics and other toxic agents to the environment. with human, biological and natural health.
  • Causing noise and vibration exceeding permissible levels according to environmental technical regulations; discharge smoke, dust, and gases with toxic odors into the air.
  • Implementing investment projects or discharging waste without meeting the conditions prescribed by law on environmental protection.
  • Import, temporary import, re-export, and transit of waste from abroad in any form.
  • Illegally importing used vehicles, machinery, and equipment for demolition and recycling.
  • Failure to implement projects, measures, and activities to prevent, respond to, and overcome environmental incidents in accordance with the relevant laws.
  • Concealing acts that pollute the environment, obstructing, falsifying information, and cheating in environmental protection activities leading to negative consequences for the environment.
  • Producing and trading products that are harmful to human health, animals, and nature;
  • Production and the use of raw materials and construction materials containing toxic elements exceeding the allowable level according to environmental technical regulations.
  • Production, import, temporary import, re-export, and consumption of substances that deplete the ozone layer in accordance with the provisions of the international treaty on substances that deplete the ozone layer that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a member of.
  • Illegally destroying and invading natural heritage.
  • Destroying and invading works, equipment, and vehicles serving environmental protection activities.

Thus, the above prohibited acts are to protect the water environment, land environment, air environment, and natural heritage environment.

2. Perform an environmental assessment

Based on the scale and classification of investment projects, enterprises (investors) are responsible for conducting a strategic environmental assessment, preliminary environmental impact assessment or environmental impact assessment.

In addition, businesses may also have to conduct consultations in environmental impact assessment through posting on websites and consulting with the following consultation subjects:

  • Residential communities and individuals directly affected by environmental impacts caused by project activities such as: residential communities and individuals living, producing, and doing business in land and water areas, land with water surface, or sea area occupied for project investment and others. Consultation on this subject is carried out through a meeting to collect opinions.
  • Agencies and organizations directly related to the investment project include: the commune-level People’s Committee and the commune-level Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee where the project is implemented; Management boards, investors who build and operate infrastructure in production, business, and service zones, industrial clusters where the project is located within the management boundary; and others. Consultation on these subjects is carried out through written consultation.

Enterprises are responsible for completing the environmental impact assessment report and sending it to the environmental impact assessment appraisal agency on time.

During the preparation and implementation of investment projects before operation, enterprises are responsible for performing an environmental impact assessment when there is one or more of the following changes compared to the decision to approve the appraisal results. Determine the previous environmental impact assessment report:

  • Increase the scale and capacity of the project to the extent that approval procedures for adjusting investment policies or procedures for adjusting the investment registration certificate must be carried out according to the provisions of investment rules;
  • Changing the project’s production technology generates waste that exceeds the waste treatment capacity of environmental protection works compared to the plan in the decision to approve the results of an appraisal of the environmental impact assessment report;
  • Changing the project’s waste treatment technology has the potential to have a negative impact on the environment compared to the plan in the decision approving the results of an appraisal of the environmental impact assessment report;
  • Changing the project location, except for investment projects in concentrated production, business, and service zones or industrial clusters where the project location is changed in accordance with the functional zoning planning of concentrated production, business, service zones, and industrial clusters that are approved by competent authorities;
  • Changing the location of direct discharge of treated wastewater into water sources with higher requirements on discharge standards or changing receiving sources increases pollution, landslides, and subsidence.

3. Comply with regulations on applying for an environmental license

For projects that require an environmental permit, businesses need to meet the conditions and procedures for licensing by the competent authority.

The environmental license is the basis for carrying out inspection, examination, and supervision by competent state agencies on environmental protection activities of investment projects, facilities, concentrated service production and business, and industrial clusters.

In addition, environmental licenses are also the basis for businesses to carry out their environmental protection responsibilities.

4. Environmental registration

Enterprises must carry out environmental registration when implementing the following projects:

  • Investment projects that generate waste are not subject to environmental permits;
  • Production, business, and service establishments operating before January 1st, 2022, that generate waste are not subject to environmental permits.

In addition to the above regulations, to protect the environment, enterprises must ensure wastewater management, dust, exhaust gas, and other pollutants.

In short, environmental protection matters are managed by the Vietnamese State with strict current regulations. Therefore, enterprises need to be aware of their rights and ensure they fulfill their responsibilities and obligations in environmental protection activities. This is to avoid negative impacts on the environment and cause enterprises to suffer related legal consequences.

The article is based on laws applicable at the time noted as above and may no longer be appropriate at the time the reader approaches this article as the applicable laws and the specific cases that the reader may wish to apply may have changed. Therefore, the article is for referencing only.


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