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Fruit, vegetable waste causes serious pollution at wholesale markets

Update: July, 13/2018 - 09:00
A worker collects waste at the Bình Điền Market in HCM City. The city is striving to resolve pollution caused by waste at markets. — VNA/VNS Photo Thành Trí
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — HCM City is facing ongoing issues from agro-product waste at its wholesale markets and has yet to come up with a solution, reported Nông thôn Ngày nay (Countryside Today) newspaper.

Wholesale markets Bình Điền, Thủ Đức and Hóc Môn discharge an estimated 240 tonnes of waste every night, most of which consists of waste from food processing and rotten vegetables, fruit and seafood products, the paper said.

Nguyễn Huỳnh Trang, vice director of HCM City’s Industry and Commerce Department, told the paper that every night, the three main wholesale markets received about 9,200 tonnes of goods, but around 240 tonnes were being discharged.

Most goods transported to the three markets are unprocessed agro-products and seafood, so the waste discharged everyday from food processing is huge.

At present, the three markets spend VNĐ2 billion (US$87,000) per month treating waste.

With 1,300 stalls receiving from 3,500 to 5,000 tonnes of goods every day, even 7,000 tonnes in special days, Thủ Đức Wholesale Market releases 60 tonnes of waste per day.

The market had to pay VNĐ350 million (US$15,000) per month for removing the garbage and cleaning the market, let alone a total monthly salary of VNĐ130 million (US$5,600) for a 14-member cleaning team, the paper said.

Meanwhile, each month Hóc Môn Wholesale Market had to spend VNĐ160 million (US$7,000) on collecting 80 tonnes of waste.

The situation at Bình Điền Wholesale Market is worse than the others because the market provides seafood to the city.

The smell and waste water spilling from the market has caused serious pollution in neighbouring areas.

Thanh Hải, a stall owner, told the paper that every night she and her neighbours had to put up with the stink from the waste.

“Wastewater spills all over the market, making the floors dirty and slippery all the time,” she said.

“But for a living, we have to live with waste. We just use masks so as not to inhale the stench,” Thanh said.

Pollution in the markets has also sparked concerns that the foods might become contaminated.

HCM City’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment admitted that pollution had badly affected residents.

To reduce waste, municipal authorities have asked traders to provide semi-processed goods to the markets.

Bùi Thế, vice director of the Department of Industry and Commerce in Lâm Đồng, said the province had instructed producers and traders to only supply  semi-processed products to HCM City.

According to Dr. Võ Mai, vice president of the Việt Nam Horticulturists’ Asociation, waste from agro-products and food after semi-processing could be used to produce organic fertilisers.

“If waste from semi-processed agro-products was effectively utilised, it would bring more profits to farm owners and help increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese products,” Mai said. – VNS




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