|Pollution caused by rotten products and waste water has become alarming at the Long Bien Market, the biggest wholesale market of the northern region. —VNS Photo Viet Thanh
HA NOI () — Pollution caused by rotten products and wastewater has become alarming at the Long Bien Market, the biggest wholesale market of the northern region, reported Thoi Bao Kinh Doanh (Business Times) Newspaper.
The market is currently overloaded and does not meet regulations on fire safety, food safety and hygiene.
The market opens all day and night, but it is the most bustling from 10pm to 5am. Every night there are hundreds of trucks carrying fruits and vegetables from many provinces to the market.
The market is located in Ba Dinh District of Ha Noi and covers 27,100sq.m and hosts 1,200 shops trading fruits and vegetables.
Everyday, about 300 to 400 tonnes of fruits and vegetables are sold in the market and discharge three tonnes of waste.
In the morning, when the trading session finishes, the market looks like a landfill with scattering wastes, nylon bags and rotten fruits and vegetables.
People living near the market have complained of pollution and bad smells affecting their daily lives for nearly a decade.
"The market has polluted the surrounding environment for a long time," said Hoang Dinh Thanh, deputy head of Long Bien Market Management Board.
The broken drainage system leaves wastewater collecting in the market, causing a putrid odor, he said.
"The stinky smell from the market bothers our family even when we close the doors very tight," said Nguyen Thi Mo, who lives by the market. "Sometimes we have to wear masks when we sleep due to the smell."
Explaining the severe pollution of the market, Thanh said the market was built in the 1990s. Its infrastructure had been degrading but there was no fund to restore it. In addition, the market had been more and more busy so the treatment system had become overloaded.
The management board assigned 17 environment workers to clean up and collect about 2.5 tonnes of waste from the market everyday, he said.
The board also hired an environmental hygiene company to collect and destroy waste. Despite environmental workers' best efforts, their cleaning has had little effect, because of the sheer amount of waste being discharged.
Traders must commit to seriously obeying environmental protection regulations when doing business in the market, he said. But the sanctions in place had not managed to deter violators.
According to Thanh, the People's Committee of Ba Dinh plans to spend VND70 billion (US$3.3 million) to upgrade the market.
According to the master plan for development of a market network in Viet Nam by 2020 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Long Bien and other wholesale markets in the city will be reorganised.
Long Bien night market is particularly attractive for foreign tourists thanks to its vibrant colors, shimmering lights and bustling trading scene. The wholesale market is located at the foot of the historic Long Bien Bridge. — VNS