KHANH HOA (VNS)— Thousands of households in the central province of Khanh Hoa have been using polluted water over the past four months because of illegal tin miners upstream.
Many households in Khanh Vinh District have had to buy clean water for cooking, despite most of them being poor ethnic Raglay minorities who still use river water.
Nguyen Thi Thuan, of Khanh Vinh Town, lamented that water from her tap often was yellow and sometimes muddy. She had to collect rain water to cook.
Nguyen Thi Loan, another resident in the town, said her family used to spend about VND100,000 (US$4.70) per month on clean water but now that had tripled.
"We reported the issue to local authorities, and they took water samples for tests but nothing has changed," she said.
Meanwhile, Vanh Khuyen Kindergarten, in Song Cau Commune, set up a water filter system which cost VND3 million ($140).
The polluted water threatens their health.
Tran Hoa Nam, chairman of the Khanh Vinh People's Committee, said a report from the communes' medical stations showed about 70 per cent of women in the district suffered from gynaecological diseases.
Formerly no-one in the district had scabies but now some dozens of people were infected.
The committee and the district Agriculture and Rural Development Division had held meetings to discuss the issue, said Nam.
Representatives believed the river water was being polluted by the thousands of people from other provinces who exploited tin illegally in the Cau and Khe rivers in the district.
Water samples were taken by the district Agriculture and Rural Development for tests.
In the past two months, local authorities have dismantled miners' tents and confiscated their tools and machines, however, they returned to the site when inspectors left the scene.
In the meantime, the committee planned to mobilise youth in the district to join self-management groups who would link up with local authorities to stop the miners, said Nam. — VNS