Tuesday, December 6 2016

VietNamNews

The good and bad about arrowroot

Update: April, 09/2016 - 09:25
Waste water discharged from an arrowroot processing household caused pollution in Tân Lập Commune of Mộc Châu District in the province of Sơn La. — Photobaosonla.vn
Viet Nam News -

 

SƠN LA — Residents in Tân Lập Commune in the northern mountainous province of Sơn La’s Mộc Châu District said while growing and processing arrowroot helped improve the lives of local residents, the rudimentary ways of processing have been killing local water sources.

They said the water smelt foul and contained starch residue, probably from three arrowroot processing facilities upstream.

According to Đặng Văn Xu, a resident from Tân Lập Commune’s Co Phay Village, local residents earlier used to bathe in the Áng Stream and wash their clothes there but not anymore since the water has now turned black and emits a bad smell.

Ever since the facilities became operational, fish, shrimp and crabs in the stream have gradually disappeared.

"The smell becomes terrible when it rains," he said.

Lò Văn Xinh, head of Tân Lập Commune’s Nà Pháy Village, said local residents repeatedly sent complaints about environmental pollution in the area and district authorities did dispatch working groups to look into the issue but the situation had not yet improved.

Lèo Văn Pâng, deputy chairman of Tân Lập Commune, said now an area of 400ha was under arrowroot cultivation, producing nearly 12,000 tonnes of yield per year.

The commune has three arrowroot powder processing facilities which have been polluting the environment ever since they began production in 2008.

Although these facilities made a commitment that waste water would be treated before it flowed into the canals, they did not keep their word.

Arrowroot residue and untreated waste water stays in ditches dug by local households near the processing workshops. When it rains, the waste water from the ditches near the stream overflows into the water facility.

Pâng said local authorities had proposed to the district’s leaders to put in place measures to tackle pollution in the area but even after so many years, the problem persists.

Delivering a warning and asking the facilities to pay an administrative fine of less than VNĐ2 million (US$90) were all that the local authorities could do within their power, he said.

Pâng said in 2014, the environmental police had imposed over VNĐ20 million (US$897) fine on each facility but that did not prevent them from discharging untreated waste water into the environment.

Hà Văn Nhảy, a local official, said generally, between 5 and 6 cu.m of water was needed to process one tonne of arrowroot and the same amount of waste water is discharged together with 600-700 kg of residue.

He estimated that the three facilities could be releasing between 500-600 cu.m of waste with 60-70 tonnes of residue every day.

The contaminated water is not only affecting residents of Tân Lập Commune but also more than 250 other households who live along the stream.

According to Mộc Châu District’s People’ Committee, there are ten arrowroot processing workshops in the district.

Hà Trung Chiến, chairman of the district’s People’s Committee said authorities understand the problem and regularly conducted inspection visits to the workshops. However, he said, the state regulations to punish violators were not strict enough to stop water pollution.

Whenever inspection teams came, the facilities stopped their operations, resuming their activities soon after that, he added.

Chiến said in the future, the local authorities would request the facilities to implement their commitment on environmental protection. Also, they would supervise the facilities better.

The district authorities would also take additional measures like imposing administrative fines and seizing production equipment if they continued their activities. — VNS

GLOSSARY

Residents in Tân Lập Commune in the northern mountainous province of Sơn La’s Mộc Châu District said while growing and processing arrowroot helped improve the lives of local residents, the rudimentary ways of processing have been killing local water sources.

To process arrowroot means to do something with the plant to turn it into something that can be used.

Residents are people who live in a place. Residents who are local to Tân Lập Commune live in Tân Lập Commune.

Rudimentary means basic.

Water resources are places where water comes from, such as springs and rivers.

They said the water smelt foul and contained starch residue, probably from three arrowroot processing facilities upstream.

Smelt is the past tense of smell.

Foul means disgusting.

Starch residue is little bits of starch that comes out of the arrowroot after it has been processed.

Arrowroot processing facilities are places where arrowroot is processed.

Upstream means further up the stream, towards the source.

According to Đặng Văn Xu, a resident from Tân Lập Commune’s Co Phay Village, local residents earlier used to bathe in the Áng Stream and wash their clothes there but not anymore since the water has now turned black and emits a bad smell.

To bathe means to go underwater in order to wash yourself.

Emits means lets out.

Ever since the facilities became operational, fish, shrimp and crabs in the stream have gradually disappeared.

When the facilities became operational, they started working.

Lò Văn Xinh, head of Tân Lập Commune’s Nà Pháy Village, said local residents repeatedly sent complaints about environmental pollution in the area and district authorities did dispatch working groups to look into the issue but the situation had not yet improved.

Repeatedly means again and again.

Lèo Văn Pâng, deputy chairman of Tân Lập Commune, said now an area of 400ha was under arrowroot cultivation, producing nearly 12,000 tonnes of yield per year.

Cultivation means growing plants.

Although these facilities made a commitment that waste water would be treated before it flowed into the canals, they did not keep their word.

To make a commitment means to promise to start doing something and not give up on it.

When people keep their word they do what they say they will do.

Pâng said local authorities had proposed to the district’s leaders to put in place measures to tackle pollution in the area but even after so many years, the problem persists.

Proposed means put forward an idea.

Pâng said in 2014, the environmental police had imposed over VNĐ20 million (US$897) fine on each facility but that did not prevent them from discharging untreated waste water into the environment.

When police impose a fine on a facility, they give that facility a fine.

When untreated water is discharged into the environment, it is let out into the environment.

The contaminated water is not only affecting residents of Tân Lập Commune but also more than 250 other households who live along the stream.

Water that is contaminated is polluted.

Hà Trung Chiến, chairman of the district’s People’s Committee said authorities understand the problem and regularly conducted inspection visits to the workshops.

When authorities conduct inspection visits to workshops they pay the workshops visits in order to check up on them.

However, he said, the state regulations to punish violators were not strict enough to stop water pollution.

Violators are people who break laws.

Whenever inspection teams came, the facilities stopped their operations, resuming their activities soon after that, he added.

To resume activities means to go back to doing them after having stopped doing them.

Chiến said in the future, the local authorities would request the facilities to implement their commitment on environmental protection.

To implement means to carry out.

Also, they would supervise the facilities better.

 

To supervise the facilities means to manage them.

The district authorities would also take additional measures like imposing administrative fines and seizing production equipment if they continued their activities.

To seize production equipment means to take it away.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

  1.  The type of countryside in Sơn La province.
  2. A type of sea creature that has disappeared from the Ang Stream  since the arrowroot production started.
  3. A shortened form of the word “hectare”, which is used to measure the size of land.
  4. The currency of Viet Nam, written in short as VNĐ.
  5. The currency of the United States, written in short as US$.

 

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ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2016

1. Mountainous; 2. Shrimp; 3. Ha; 4. Dong; 5. Dollar.

 

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