|More than 1,000 charcoal-producing kilns in southern Hau Giang Province's Chau Thanh District and Nga Bay Town are filling the air with soot, even though locals have been complaining to relevant authorities for several years.—VNA/VNS Photo
HAU GIANG (VNS)— More than 1,000 charcoal-producing kilns in southern Hau Giang Province's Chau Thanh District and Nga Bay Town are filling the air with soot, even though locals have been complaining to relevant authorities for several years.
Tran Hoang Vu, chairman of Phu Tan Commune's People's Committee, said more than 400 charcoal-producing kilns have been built along the Cai Con, Hau, Cay Duong and Nga Tu Rivers. Exhaust fumes from the six-metre high structures pollute the water and fill the air with soot.
Nguyen Van Gam, a local resident, said the polluted air covered the walls of his house with a thick layer of black dust.
None of the grapefruits in his 7,000-sq.m garden could be sold, as they were covered in soot.
Lai Hong Can, another resident, said his two children had a permanent cough from the pollution. But he could not request compensation as there had been no scientific investigation into the kilns' environmental effects.
Nguyen Van Son, head of two charcoal kilns, said that the business created jobs for a number of local people who had no agricultural land.
If the kilns were forced to stop operations, they would have no way to earn a living.
He said he would gladly use modern equipment to filter the exhaust if he got financial support from authorities.
Chairman Vu said the committee had allocated forces to ask the kiln owners to stop operating. However, the authorities could not be at the kilns all the time to keep an eye on them.
There were also no legal regulations stipulating punishment for such cases, he said.
The committee asked the province's Department of Environment and Natural Resources to measure the amount of pollution and take measures to protect locals' health on this data, he said.
The commune lacks the money to remove the kilns from residential areas.
According to the province's Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the search is underway for a suitable technology to filter the exhaust fumes. — VNS