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Rubbish dumps blight residential areas

Update: December, 03/2012 - 10:47


Industrial waste pollutes the environment in southern Dong Nai Province. There are 42 temporary garbage dumps, covering 23ha of land in the province. — VNA/VNS Photo Van Khanh
DONG NAI — Dozens of temporary garbage dumps have formed in residential areas of southern Dong Nai Province due to a shortage of landfill sites, causing serious pollution that affects local people's health.

More than 2,100 tonnes of waste are generated every day in the province, half of which is toxic industrial waste, according to the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment. However, the province has only one waste treatment factory, which has a limited capacity of 400 tonnes per day.

Thus, more and more temporary garbage dumps have appeared. In Long Binh Commune of Bien Hoa City, garbage trucks have disposed of their contents on a patch of fallow land every day for the past two months - turning the area into a de facto dump.

Nguyen Van Binh, a commune resident, said that the number of trucks dumping trash in the commune was increasing day by day - as was the amount of garbage, including domestic waste, industrial waste and dead animals.

The site was so full of garbage that it had begun to overflow into the alley, affecting hundreds of people nearby.

"The smell becomes really horrible in the afternoon when the garbage trucks come. How can we keep living here?" he asked.

Residents of Hoa An and Tan Hanh communes are facing the same situation.

An abandoned quarry dozens of metres deep has become known as a good place to dump garbage. Locals once set up barbed wire around the quarry, but it was torn down after one night, said Nguyen Thi Ly, a resident in Hoa An Commune.

"Industrial waste has an unbearable smell. We feel sick whenever we breathe it," she said.

According to local authorities, garbage dumping in these places was illegal and those who were doing it probably did not come from the area.

The police have caught some individuals red-handed and fined them between VND700,000-1.3 million (US$33-61) per truck. However, the situation has yet to improve, perhaps because the fines are so low.

Currently, there are 42 temporary garbage dumps, covering 23 hectares of land in the province.

Deputy director of the provincial department of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Van Chanh said because this garbage was being burnt or buried without technical processes, some waste might be absorbed in local water sources and the surrounding environment, which could cause serious harm to those living nearby.

To solve the problem, Chanh said the province has licensed more than 40 organisations and individuals to co-operate with enterprises to collect and treat waste. Some 400 enterprises are in charge of clearing toxic industrial waste every day.

"The department is also building waste landfill sites dozens of hectares wide between cities and districts. The temporary garbage dumps will be closed down when the new sites are put into use," he said. — VNS

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