Landfill’s waste and smoke make Đắk Nông a living hell

February 24, 2017 - 10:30

Thousands of residents in the central highlands province of Đắk Nông’s Đắk R’Lấp District are living with rubbish and fume from rubbish treatment area which is located near the residents area.

Rác thải đổ đống chặn đường người dân đi làm nương, rẫy.​
Viet Nam News

ĐẮK NÔNG — Thousands of residents of the Central Highlands province of Đắk Nông’s Đắk R’Lấp District lived mired in the rubbish and fumes from a rubbish treatment facility near the residential area.

In 2015, the province built a concentrated landfill in Quảng An Town’s Đạo Nghĩa Commune, collecting waste from three surrounding communes. However, the landfill affects the daily life of all residents, Dân Trí online newspaper reported on Thursday.

Trần Việt Hải, a local resident in Quảng An Town, pointed at the rubber cultivation, which is covered by thousands of plastic bags, and said that tens of tonnes of rubbish gather there every day. Tân Quý--the co-operative responsible for waste management--is failing to work in a timely manner.

His house is about 300 metres from the landfill, but waste still blows into his garden and yard on windy days, Hải said.

“When operation began, my family picked up waste. But then we gave up, because there is simply too much rubbish,” he said.

Bùi Công Chức, a local resident who lives far from the landfill, also said that his family suffers from smoke caused by burning waste.

“The incinerator operates all day, but waste is still in stock and piled within a 2,000sq.m radius,” Chức said.

Local authorities affirmed that all rubbish will be treated by incinerators when the system was put in use. But as of now, the programme burns waste without an incinerator and digs holes to bury waste, causing massive amounts of smoke.

“The current method has created a dense layer of smoke and affected the daily life of all households here,” said Chức.

“I can pick up rubbish when it flies into my house, but what can I do with smoke?” he added.

People there, especially children, often suffer health problems related to respiratory and skin diseases, Chức affirmed.

“We have to wear mask while we sleep to avoid inhaling toxic gas,” he added.

Hundreds of household living in Hamlet 1 of Cư Jút District’s Cư K’nia Commune have faced the same situation for years.

From early morning, the concentrated landfill smells foul, and the air becomes more oppressive and fetid in the mid-day.

Local Phạm Văn Đông said “The rubbish burns all day like choking mice. Dust and stench cover a large area, seriously affecting life here. In the rainy season, bed smelling dark water flows around and soaks drinking water sources.”

The landfill had become a nice place to attract flies, the residents all said.  At lunch, they have to close the door to avoid the bugs.

Many households even have to eat lunch inside a mosquito net, they said.

Residents in Quảng An Town told the newspaper that they were not aware of local authority’s waste treatment plans before it was built.

“Before, a coal furnace was forced to leave the region due to its pollution. And then the landfill appeared,” Võ Thị Thúy Liễu, a resident said in disappointment.

Talking to the newspaper, Nguyễn Văn Quyết, chairman of the People’s Committee of Đạo Nghĩa Commune, said local people knew and agreed with the plan of building rubbish landfill. However, only one incinerator is in use, so it currently cannot deal with the large quantity of rubbish discharged every day.

He affirmed that local authorities will hold talks with residents and the garbage treatment co-operative to solve the problem and apply for funding from the district to construct a barrier to prevent waste flying everywhere.

Households repeatedly reported the problem to local authorities, but they have yet to receive any proper answers, the newspaper said.

Nguyễn Thế Dũng, director of Quyết Thắng Environment Sanitation Co-operative, which is responsible for dealing with rubbish in Cư Jút District, said the incinerator has a capacity of four tonnes of waste a day and cannot deal with the 16 tonnes of rubbish discharged everyday. The quantity is predicted to rise to 20 tonnes a day, the official said.

Small portions of waste are treated by the incinerator while the remaining waste is burned or buried. Environmental pollution is unavoidable, he said.

The provincial People’s Committee is now waiting for funds from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to upgrade the facilities, according to Dũng. — VNS