Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Triệu Thị Thoa of HCM City’s District 6 says when her neighbours see a vehicle come to collect garbage, all of them close their doors immediately to avoid its stench.
“I am deeply concerned about the safety of the rubbish collectors, mostly poor people, as they never wear a mask or proper clothes when collecting rubbish.
“After they collect the garbage, they jump on top of it to look for something they can sell.
“They don’t care about their health. How can they care for others’ health?”
Since there are not enough public garbage trucks to collect all the household rubbish, many private vehicles share in the task.
These are motorbikes modified by their owners by adding a small open body to carry the garbage to the city’s dumps.
According to city authorities, there are more than 1,000 such vehicles.
Most of them fail to meet the safety and hygiene standards, and cause bad odour and pollution wherever they go.
On Cao Thắng Street in District 10, dozens of the vehicles move around, causing people to cover their noses against the odour.
It is a similar story on Nguyễn Thiện Thuật Street in District 3 between 6pm and night.
When these vehicles stop to collect rubbish or wait for the traffic signal, people desperately hope the lights turn green quickly.
The situation becomes even worse when it rains since many of the vehicles are not properly covered and filthy water and garbage trickle out.
Nguyễn Thị Thu Hằng, director of the Public Service Company in District 2, admitted her company’s vehicles only collect a portion of the garbage in the district due to their limited capacity.
The gap is filled by many private self-modified vehicles, most of which are sub-standard, she added.
A staff member at the Public Service Company in District 3, who asked not to be named, said her company collects only 10 per cent of the 200 tonnes of rubbish discharged in the district daily, with the rest collected by private vehicles.
The private vehicles are managed by ward authorities, but the problem persists due to lax management, he said.
“The private vehicles collect waste from households and transport it to a designated spot from where the city’s public garbage trucks take it to the rubbish treatment complexes.
“Because most of the private garbage vehicles are not able to transfer rubbish directly to the specialised garbage trucks, it must throw all the rubbish on the street instead.”
The garbage trucks then pick up the rubbish from the street.
Substandard rubbish vehicles
Bùi Hoàng Lâm, a resident of District 5, said the laws are not stringent enough with the owners of the private garbage vehicles.
He said they ought to treat garbage before transporting it to prevent the odour and improve the vehicles to meet safety and hygiene standards.
Lê Trung Tuấn Anh, manager of the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s solid waste management department, said collecting and transporting rubbish face many challenges.
The city generates more than 8,000 tonnes of household waste daily, of which only 40 per cent is managed by public service utilities, he said.
The rest of the garbage is collected and transported by more than 500 private vehicles, he said.
According to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, in the past the private vehicles only used to collect garbage at night, but due to the increasing amount of waste being generated they now operate even in the day.
Anh said by collecting and carrying rubbish the private vehicles are breaking traffic laws.
Since garbage is usually piled up high in these vehicles, they threaten road safety.
But the city now plans to help owners of such vehicles improve them, he said.
The city Party Committee has urged the People’s Committee to instruct the natural resources and police departments to crack down on the use of the private garbage vehicles.
However, an environmental expert, who wished to be unnamed, said it is a difficult problem to resolve since most of the owners of these vehicles are very poor.
“We cannot resolve the problem of bad odour caused by private rubbish vehicles unless we can fine them.” — VNS