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Herbicide hits Quang Binh forest

Update: September, 21/2013 - 09:00
QUANG BINH (VNS)— While the case of a pesticide manufacturer in central Thanh Hoa Province allegedly dumping harmful chemicals in the soil is still causing concerns for people, the public in Quang Binh is shocked to have discovered a local forest farm using herbicide to clear the forest.

Bo Trach Forest Farm in central Quang Binh Province's Bo Trach District was found to using herbicide to clear vegetation in the area's watershed.

The case came to light in mid-August after local residents in Xuan Trach Commune uncovered many herbicide containers thrown across streams in the watershed and complained to local authorities. As many as 80 herbicide containers were later collected, raising local residents' concern over the quality of the area's water source.

Chairman of the district People's Committee, Phan Van Gion, said that representative from the forest farm admitted violations of regulations on the management and use of forests and forest land, as well as the process of using pesticide.

"It's true that the enterprise used herbicide to clear vegetation in the watershed, and didn't collect the containers for treatment. However, the chemical was listed in the national list of allowed substances for use in killing weeds," Bui Van Thang, director of the farm told Lao dong (Labour) newspaper, adding that this was the first time the enterprise had used the herbicide.

"Nine staff of the enterprise hired local residents on their own initiative to care for the forest, resulting in the cause of the incident", Thang said.

Thang said that the herbicide was used on about 27 hectares of the forest so far.

According to a local news source, relevant agencies are conducting further investigations into how many hectares of the forest had actually been sprayed with the chemical and whether it is allowed for use in large areas. The enterprise will be fined based on the level of its violations.

In a related move, other State forest enterprises and forest managers in the area have been asked not to use herbicide to clear vegetation in watersheds, or in areas around water sources, Gion said. — VNS

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