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Rubbish, smoke of recycling workshops ruining village air

Update: October, 26/2015 - 09:23
Residents living in Hung Yen Province's Minh Khai village are surrounded by rubbish and smoke from recycling workshops. — Photo

HUNG YEN (VNS) — Residents living in Hung Yen Province's Minh Khai village are surrounded by rubbish and smoke from recycling workshops.

Located in Van Lam District's Nhu Quynh Township, the village with the common name - Khoai village - is in danger from pollution.

Nearly 1,000 household live with rubbish and earn their living by recycling plastic from waste. Many residents also become wealthy from their jobs.

Each day, the village collects about 160-180 tonnes of waste from throughout the country, a local resident said.

In the afternoon, trucks filled with waste queue up at the entrance to the village, where the waste is piled in heaps.

All empty spaces here are used to hold rubbish, residents said.

The local residents collect waste from Ha Noi and neighbouring localities to recycle it into new products made from plastic, such as bags, rope, water pipes and rain coats to be sold at traditional markets.

Recycling this waste, however, has harmed the environment and health of residents here due to the black smoke coming from waste recycling workshops.

Nguyen Minh Thu, a local resident who does not earn money from waste, complained that she has to keep her windows and doors closed all day and night, yet she still suffers from the odors coming from plastic recycling workshops.

"My family has to breath smoke from waste and breathe in the burnt smells from workshops. I don't know what to do, except close the door all day," she said.

Meanwhile, a resident who earns money from collecting waste said that many people here know the danger of recycling plastics, but continue this work because it is their jobs.

He also said residents are accustomed to the smells, and only outsiders who come here cannot breath the fumes.

Additionally, workers are not equipped with special work clothing and most of the work performed in processing plastics is done by hand, including collecting, sorting and drying waste, and placing it into processing machines.

Waste has also been discharged, along with water, into canals, which are now filled with waste and mud.

Further, ponds in the village are covered by thick layers of mud created by plastic waste.

There are no health tests performed on residents here, particularly children, and no one knows whether recycling plastics have affected the local residents' health.

Of note, Nguyen Minh Thuy, head of Minh Khai craft industrial complex, said all private workshops should be relocated to the complex to put an end the pollution of the area's environment.

More than 400 workshops hope to move to the complex, but it is over-crowded, as it consists of only 11ha, Thuy said.

The district also has plan to expand the area to 50ha to help local households move their workshops to the complex.

Deputy director of the provincial Resources and Environment Department Tran Dang Anh said the province is carrying out many measures to help craft villages develop in a stable way.

These include support in building an industrial complex and moving workshops in craft villages which suffer from serious pollution, along with training workers, providing loans and land for workshops, as well as to encourage households in craft villages to move to the complex or change vocations, Anh said.

Measures to protect the environment are also being strictly carried out in each village, he said. — VNS

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