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Overloaded landfill dumps misery on Sam Son residents

Update: July, 28/2017 - 09:00
Sanitation workers of Thanh Hóa Environment and Urban Works Company Ltd collect waste from Lê Hoàn Street in Thanh Hóa City. — VNA/VNS Photo Thế Duyệt
Viet Nam News

THANH HÓA — Residents of Trung Sơn and Bắc Sơn wards in the famous coastal city of Sầm Sơn in the central province of Thanh Hóa are suffering insidious impacts of an overloaded waste dump.

The landfill has badly affected their health, daily life and their livelihood, the residents say.

Cao Thiên Quý, a resident of Khanh Tiến Street in Trung Sơn Ward, said his family has lived there for over 20 years.

“Before the Sầm Sơn dump was opened, we got a stable income from breeding fish in a 2ha pond. However, things changed after that.”

The dumping site produces a bad odour and polluted the air and water sources, he said.

They could not breed fish because of water pollution and rice plants either died or failed to yield enough seeds for the next crop.

Nguyễn Hữu Đại, another resident, had a similar lament.

“We have to get water from other localities to raise ducks and cows to prevent them from getting diseases. We plant vegetables, but nobody dares to buy them.”

Many families in the localities have to close their doors and windows to ward off mosquitoes. They even use mosquito nets while having dinner.

Đại said the number of people with respiratory diseases has increased over the past years.

If this situation continues, his family will have to move to another place, he added.

Cao Van Đại, a resident of Bắc Sơn Ward, located about 100m away from the garbage dump, said "We don’t care about ourselves. We are old but we worry about the future of the young ones.”

His niece is just a year old, but suffers often from respiratory problems, he said.

Nguyễn Hữu Cường, another resident, said he worries that the severe pollution might have negative effects on the city’s tourism sector.

Trịnh Tứ Khoa, deputy chairman of Trung Sơn Ward’s People’s Committee, said local residents are suffering from "terrible pollution of air and water."

They were glad to hear in 2014 that the dump would be moved to another place. Then, local authorities said they would upgrade the dump to deal with pollution.

However, there has been no improvement since.

Phạm Viết Linh, director of Sầm Sơn Investment, Tourism and Environment Service JSC, admitted that the dump is overloaded.

His company has spent over VNĐ4 billion (US$176,000) on deodorising chemicals, but, “the pollution can’t be removed without closing the dump and transporting all the garbage to the Đông Nam Dump (another landfill in the province).”

The Sầm Sơn garbage dump covering 2ha was opened in 1997. Every day, it receives over 150cu.m of waste.

Linh blamed the overloading on the fact that the number of tourists coming to Sầm Sơn City has risen substantially, and expansion of the city with five communes being added to it.

Phạm Văn Tuấn, vice chairman of the Sầm Sơn People’ Committee, said environmental pollution has been a big headache for local authorities for many years.

As much as VNĐ26.3 billion ($1.1 million) has been invested in upgrading the Sầm Sơn garbage dump, but the problem has not been solved completely, he said.

"It would costly if we transport all the garbage to the Đông Nam Dump. And the transportation could itself cause pollution,” Tuấn said.

He said the Sầm Sơn Investment, Tourism and Environmente JSC has been asked to find a temporary solution to minimise pollution while waiting for a new dumping site. — VNS

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