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Private garbage collectors face difficulties following cart ban

Update: February, 16/2016 - 10:54
Many private garbage collectors in HCM City are falling on hard times due to a citywide ban on outdated and dilapidated garbage carts. — Photo hochiminhcity.gov.vn

HCM CITY (VNS) — Many private garbage collectors in HCM City are falling on hard times due to a citywide ban on outdated and dilapidated garbage carts.

At present, the city has more than 3,000 individual garbage collectors. In Tan Phu District alone, about 200 tonnes of rubbish are collected every day, with individual garbage collectors hauling off half of that amount.

Most of them use unauthorised three-wheeled carts to do their jobs. Area residents have complained that the garbage collection carts are eyesores and cause environmental pollution due to rubbish and wastewater running through the streets.

The city issued a ban on old, rundown carts from being used on streets. The ban has had a negative impact on the lives of poor garbage collectors.

However, the city has not yet introduced a standard model cart or vehicle for rubbish collection.

Many private rubbish collectors have spent hundreds of millions of dong to upgrade their carts, but they are still considered to be in violation of traffic rules.

Le Van Nga, vice president of a private garbage organisation of Thu Duc District, told the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that after 10 years of collecting rubbish, he saved enough money to buy a small garbage truck for VND130 million (US$5,800). In the past, like other members in the organisation, he used a three-wheeled cart.

To carry more rubbish and prevent wastewater from leaking, he had to bring the vehicle to a garage to change the design and expand the truck bed.

However, the transport sector recently enacted strict fines on vehicles that have been altered or modified in some way.

"Our income is very small. Whenever, the rubbish collection vehicles are stopped by police, we have to pay a fine of VND1-2 million ($45-90). We cannot be burdened with this," he said.

To cope with the situation, he had to sell the vehicle and use the cart again because the fine for carts is lighter. If the cart is seized, the loss is small.

Since late 2014, the organisation's rubbish collection units have decreased by 25 per cent and many people quit their jobs, according to Nga.

District People's Committees have asked the municipal authority to regulate the rubbish collection vehicles of private collectors.

"The city should have specific regulations for the rubbish collection vehicles to support the collectors," said Le Van Chien, Vice Chairman of the Thu Duc District People's Committee.

Le Hoang Ha, Chairman of Go Vap District's People's Committee, said, "In my opinion, relevant agencies should consider introducing a standard model for specialised vehicles."

"In addition, the municipal Natural Resources and Environment Department should co-operate with police and relevant offices to find a suitable form of private rubbish collection in the city," he said.

At present, the municipal Natural Resources and Environment Department had carried out a plan to provide financial assistance to rubbish collectors, enabling them to change their vehicles, said Nguyen Van Phuoc, the department's deputy head. — VNS

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