|Smoke from the cement factory in Quảng Ninh Province. Many residents suffer from dust and smoke produced by cement factories in the province’s Hoành Bồ District — Photo Iaodong.com.vn|
QUẢNG NINH — Many households in northern Quảng Ninh Province’s Hoành Bồ District have been forced to live with smoke and cement dust discharged from Hạ Long Cement Factory for years.
This has seriously affected the lives of local residents and their cultivation activities. In the meantime, local authorities have failed to act.
Lương Khôi Bút, a resident in Hoành Bồ District’s Thống Nhất Commune said that he had installed windows with two layers of glass to avoid dust from the factory, but the situation had not improved.
The local well, which was dug in 1979 and was his main source of water, has a thick layer of dust on the water’s surface. Even after being filtered, sediment still remains in the water.
Nguyễn Văn Tý, head of Đất Đỏ Village’s residential area agreed, saying that the factory discharged dust and smoke everyday.
During the day, noise from the factory annoyed the whole village, while dust and smoke was discharged at night, Tý said.
Sometimes, dust was continuously discharged for up to 20 days, he said. A representative of the factory told us that there had been technical errors and the problem would be fixed soon, but the situation has so far remained unchanged.
Layers of dust fell on the fields and houses. Even trees along the roads to the village were no longer green, he said.
According to local residents, dust used to be discharged at night in heavy downpours to avoid pollution, but recently, the factory discharged smoke during the day.
They only hoped to be relocated, to any place far from the factory, villagers said.
In the meantime, a representative of the factory denied the dust discharges into the environment.
Nguyễn Bá Thành, head of Hạ Long Cement Factory’s Environment Safety Unit said to vov.vn that the factory used modern production lines imported from Denmark, which wouldn’t impact the surrounding environment.
“Claims made by residents that the factory discharged dust into the air are totally wrong and untrue,” he said.
“A technical error on a dust filtering machine did happen in 2006, but we quickly fixed it after the incident occurred in 15 minutes”.
He also affirmed that the factory implemented air monitoring annually and the data had been transmitted to the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
However, Nguyễn Thanh Ân, head of Hoành Bồ District’s Office for Natural Resources and Environment said that the complaints of local residents were justified.
The office, in co-operation with the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, has strengthened inspections on all factories in the district, including Hạ Long Cement Factory.
The factory has committed to fixing the situation and minimising the discharge of dust into the air.
In the future, the office would relocate all cement factories to the northern area of Hà Nội – Móng Cái Highway to ensure no residential areas would be polluted. — VNS