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Livestock farms pose a threat to environment, public health

Update: June, 23/2015 - 09:45
Most farms are located near residential areas with small landholdings, so there is not enough space to apply standard construction norms for environmental protection. This has created serious pollution in concentrated breeding areas. — Photo cetac
THAI NGUYEN  (VNS) — The fast development of livestock farms may have produced a lot of food, but they are also causing environmental pollution and health risks in rural areas, according to officials.

Thai Nguyen, a northern province, is one such region.

The Tin Tuc (News) newspaper has reported that the province has 670 livestock farms, mainly in Dai Tu, Pho Yen, Phu Luong, and Phu Binh districts, as well as Song Cong commune.

Most farms are located near residential areas with small landholdings, so there is not enough space to apply standard construction norms for environmental protection. This has created serious pollution in concentrated breeding areas.

Some recent test results showed that waste water from farms are handled primarily through biogas tanks and then discharged into ponds. When ponds become full, waste water flows into canals and rivers.

Nguyen Thi Hoai, a farmer in Cao Ngan commune, said residents here inhaled stench from livestock and animal wastes continuously and they were likely to cause water pollution, apart from affecting the daily lives of people around.

Doan Van Tuan, Director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, noted that waste from pig breeding farms polluted the environment more than waste from other types of livestock farms. Waste from these farms was mostly processed in the biogas system, but this only produced gas for daily use and did not have any significant effect on reducing pollution levels, Tuan added.

The test results of the provincial environmental technology centre also revealed that the level of pollution was higher than the permitted mark.

According to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the animal waste treatment technology of biogas plants that are applied by farms does not treat pollution effectively.

Nguyen Thanh Phuong, head of the Agriculture and Rural Development department in Dong Hy district, remarked that the cost to build and operate a pollution treatment system was very high; so, farms evade investment projects for environmental protection.

Meanwhile, the State management had not given proper attention to the environmental protection measures at all levels and sectors of breeding, Phuong said.

The livestock development plans of various localities focused only on new targets and economic solutions. There were no specific regulations, measures or plans to develop breeding areas that could meet the requirements for environmental protection.

According to Phuong, sanctions are not strong enough to deter farms from indulging in activities causing environmental pollution.

In addition, awareness and a sense of responsibility toward environmental protection are very limited among farm owners.

To minimise pollution by farms, the province has approved a scheme to ensure the protection of agricultural and rural environment by 2020.

The provincial natural resources and environment department has worked with the department of agriculture and rural development to strengthen the inspection of farms, which cause severe pollution, and set up regulations for environmental protection in animal husbandry.

Furthermore, the departments also require farms to have sufficient work and environmental protection measures to meet all requirements to reduce pollution.

Breeding areas suitable for each type of livestock and animals would be built to gradually weed out small-scale farms from residential areas, officials said. — VNS

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