Circular No. 35/2015/TT-BTNMT from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) was issued recently, on environmental protection at economic zones, industrial parks, export processing zones, and high-tech zones. The Circular will take effect on August 17.

In economic zones, agencies that propose their establishment or expansion must evaluate the capacity to adapt to environmental requirements and report to MoNRE and the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Such agencies are also responsible for the planning, construction and operation of environmental protection infrastructure and must send a written notice to MoNRE so it may monitor and inspect the infrastructure. Environmental protection infrastructure includes systems for collecting, storing and processing solid waste, collecting and draining rainwater, and treating wastewater, observation points to determine the quality of the surrounding environment, and green areas.

In industrial parks, export processing zones, and high-tech zones, the planning of their functional areas must minimize the impact of production pollution and be able to respond to environmental incidents.

Projects in these parks and zones must be a safe distance from the surrounding environment according to national technical regulations for public utilities and infrastructure to minimize any potential impact on other facilities or their surroundings.

Technical infrastructure for environmental protection must be suitable with the type of investment and minimize any adverse impacts on the surrounding environment. Green areas must be at least 10 per cent of the total area. Rain water drainage systems, centralized wastewater treatment systems, storage areas for solid waste and automated wastewater monitoring systems must be in place. Environmental protection infrastructure in these parks and zones must follow technical regulations.

The Circular also specifically defines the management of waste water, emissions, noise, solid waste, and hazardous waste, and regulates the prevention of and response to environment incidents.