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Paradise isle reeks of garbage

Update: August, 06/2012 - 10:43
With nowhere to dump its garbage, the island has dumped its waste along the sea dyke, resulting in the deaths of vegetation and sea life. A US$6.7 million waste treatment plant is slated for construction. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Long
QUANG NGAI — Garbage dumped along dykes protecting once-beautiful Ly Son Island in central Quang Ngai Province is polluting the water, killing coral, prawns and sea vegetation. It has also created a foul stench that dominates the once fragrant sea air.

And yet, only two years ago, the island was added to the list of marine-sanctuaries under a rulling by the Prime Minister.

This is why Ly Son Island District People's Committee has submitted to the central Quang Ngai Province People's Committee a project to build a waste treatment plant. In particular, they want their fresh air back.

The new plant, which will cost VND140 billion (US$6.7 million), needs funds from the State and provincial budgets, said Tran Ngoc Nguyen, chairman of the district People's Committee.

The committee decided to move after a recent survey by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry's Institute of Coastal and Offshore Engineering showing that underwater sea plants around the island had almost vanished.

According to the survey, the pollution of the water with garbage – plus rampant exploitation of coral and fish stocks are destroying the island.

The report lists species of coral, sea cucumber and tiger shrimp that have totally disappeared.

In the short term, the committee has ordered the islanders bury their household waste underground instead of throwing it along the island's sea dyke, Nguyen said. However, he admitted this would have an adverse effect on underground water.

Le Muoi, an islander living in An Vinh Commune's Con Village, said he knew throwing waste along the sea dyke caused pollution.

"But we have no choice, there is no space to throw it on the island," he said.

Vo Thi Thi, another islander, said islanders expected local authorities to solve the situation quickly.

Ly Son island was once listed as a green-clean and beautiful island to attract international and domestic tourists.

The island covers 10 square kilometres and has a population of about 21,000. — VNS

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