Sanitation workers volunteer to stay in lockdown areas to keep environment clean

August 25, 2021 - 08:59

Twenty sanitation workers from Hà Nội Urban Environment Company (URENCO) have volunteered to stay in two lockdown wards in Hà Nội to keep the areas clean.


Sanitation workers in quarantine areas of Văn Miếu Ward discuss their working schedule. — Photo Vietnamplus

Hùng Võ

HÀ NỘI — Twenty sanitation workers from Hà Nội Urban Environment Company (URENCO) have volunteered to stay in two lockdown wards in Hà Nội to keep the areas clean.

More than 1,400 households with over 4,700 residents in Văn Miếu and Văn Chương wards in Đống Đa District have been locked down since last Saturday after a series of COVID-19 positive cases were detected.

More than 40 tonnes of garbage are estimated to be discharged by local people, putting pressure on environment workers.

Twenty workers of URENCO whose daily duties include collecting domestic waste, have volunteered to stay in the quarantine areas of the two wards to carry out their jobs.

None of them want to let garbage accumulate, causing irritating smells and pollution as well as increasing the risk of spreading the virus in the community.

After the lockdown order was made on Saturday night, the sanitation workers had only one night to pack their personal belongings and move to the quarantine areas.

Twenty workers are divided into two teams, working in two wards on both day and night shifts.

Their accommodation is at Huy Văn Secondary School and Lý Thường Kiệt Primary School.

Đỗ Quỳnh Điệp, one of the workers of Văn Miếu Ward, said twenty workers included nineteen women and only one man.

Most of the female workers have difficult backgrounds and hail from other localities.

Nguyễn Thị Trang, for example, is from the northern province of Nam Định and has four children. She is living in a rented house in Thanh Trì District, very far from Văn Chương Ward.

Every day she travels a far distance from where she lives to her workplace in Đống Đa District collecting a monthly wage of VNĐ6 million.

In spite of risks from the lockdown areas, Trang is still ready to take on the duty.

Điệp said “The decision of working in lockdown areas is such a hard one to make. No one wants to stay far away from their children to work in the pandemic’s hotspots for 14 days.

“Responsibility has encouraged us to enter the lockdown areas which are also the places we have been working for many years. We all want to ensure safety for the capital city.” 

She said environmental workers play an important role, only behind medical, military and public security forces, in the fight against COVID-19.

“The environment is the life and breath for everyone so it should be always kept clean,” she said.

Environment workers have to wear protective suits and are equipped with disinfectants.

Điệp added: “On normal days, we have to suffer from the trash smell. Now we have to work under the heat in protective suits covering head to toes, not to mention the smell from the disinfectant chemicals. Our work is harder.”

Residents are not allowed to go out on lockdown days and must leave their garbage bags on their doorsteps. The workers will come to every house to collect. Before collecting and putting the trash on the garbage trucks, the workers have to disinfect the waste.

“The workload is twice or even three times more than normal days,” Điệp said.

Although markets and restaurants are closed, the amount of trash is still increasing, mostly from households because residents spend more time at home, she said.

Each worker has to collect two tonnes of waste on average per day.

Mai Thanh Hằng, deputy director of URENCO’s branch in Đống Đa District, said the workload in the coming days would be bigger but all of the workers are determined to keep the lockdown areas clean.

Điệp added: “To reduce work pressure on environment workers, we hope residents will be sympathetic with our work and dump their waste on time and in the right place.” — VNS