|The High Command of Chemicals under the Ministry of Defence on Saturday sprayed chemicals to decontaminate the ground of the Rạng Đông light bulb factory in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang|
HÀ NỘI — The High Command of Chemicals under the Ministry of Defence on Saturday announced it had completed decontamination work at a light bulb factory that went up in flames last month.
Lieutenant Colonel Đậu Xuân Hoài, deputy director of the Military Institute of Environment and Chemistry, said the Rạng Đông factory was now safe.
On August 28, a fire destroyed a third of the 6,000-square-metre warehouse in Thanh Xuân District’s Hạ Đình Ward. More than four million light bulbs melted in the fire and authorities said an area within a 500-metre radius of the warehouse had been contaminated with mercury.
The Ministry of Public Security said the fire was caused by a short-circuit.
Workers have spent the last three weeks trying to make the area safe.
Lieutenant Colonel Hoài said more than 120,000 litres of chemicals were used during the clean-up process.
“We believe the area is now safe, but we have requested the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment to ask an independent agency for another environmental evaluation,” he said.
In total, workers collected 1,200 tonnes of ash, 1,300 tonnes of construction debris and 11 tonnes of light bulbs.
The waste has been taken to the Nam Sơn landfill, the biggest in the capital, where it will be treated.
Residents living in a radius of 500 meters around the Rang Dong light bulb warehouse have received free health checks for mercury poisoning. After the fire, people living nearby had to relocate due to health concerns.
According to the Việt Nam Environment Administration, an estimated 15.2-27.2 kilogrammes of mercury was released into the environment during the fire. The company said it caused losses of around VNĐ150 billion (US$6.4 million). — VNS