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Old brick kilns damaging environment in Bac Kan

Update: October, 12/2015 - 08:49
Nearly 80 old brick kilns have caused serious environmental pollution in the northern province of Bac Kan, but many obstacles stand in the way of eliminating them. — Photo baotintuc.vn
BAC KAN (VNS) — Nearly 80 old brick kilns have caused serious environmental pollution in the northern province of Bac Kan, but many obstacles stand in the way of eliminating them, local authorities said.

Phieng My Village in Huyen Tung Ward in Bac Kan City has only 15 households, but those households operate eight brick kilns at all hours of the day and night.

A Vietnam News Agency correspondent reported that smoke released from the kilns caused issues, and roads have become seriously damaged by overloaded automobiles that transport bricks through the village.

The village has 1ha of land for growing rice, but the low quality of the land has rendered it an unsuccessful crop. The remaining 40ha of land in the village is suitable for manufacturing bricks, and brick kilns have been built over the past 10 years.

Tran Thi Cu, a resident in the village, said she has made bricks for 10 years. She used to go to China with hopes of finding a better job, but she did not succeed, so she returned to her hometown to continue making bricks.

"I know the work is harmful for health, but I need to earn my living," said Cu.

Luu Quang Doan, head of the village, said most of the local residents earned their living by working at brick kilns.

It takes a brick kiln 20 to 30 days to produce a batch of products, but the kilns do not have a system to curb smoke.

Poisonous smoke was released into the air affecting residents' health. Many kilns are too old and can cause accidents for workers, said Doan.

Although the kilns are harmful, they have brought a stable income to many households in the village in recent years and have created jobs for hundreds of people, so it is difficult to eliminate them, he said.

On May 25, 2012, the Bac Kan People's Committee released a decision banning old-style brick kilns in residential areas in the province beginning January 1, 2015.

The kilns will be banned in all areas of Bac Kan City at the beginning of 2018, and they will be banned across the province beginning in 2020.

This decision worried owners of the brick kilns.

Ta Van Ly, one of the owners, said he needed nearly VND10 billion (US$444,400) to convert an old brick kiln into a tunnel kiln, which is a large sum of money for him.

Ly hoped that local authorities would extend the deadline for building tunnel brick kilns and provide financial support to the farmers.

Hoang Thi Thuy, deputy director of the Bac Kan Department of Construction, said that eliminating old-style brick kilns in the province created new challenges because it directly affected residents' livelihoods.

The province would provide consultancy on changing jobs, training for new jobs and set up policies of financial support for owners of old-style brick kilns, said Thuy. — VNS

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