Its latest survey on hundreds of households in Ba Đình, Đống Đa and Sóc Sơn districts showed that the rate of residents using coal stove was 73, 63 and 56 per cent, respectively. — Photo vietq.vn
HÀ NỘI — Many people know the environmental harm of using a traditional earthenware stove with coal, but due to its cheap price, many families still use it for cooking and warming their house, endangering their health, according to experts.
A survey of the environment sub-department under the Hà Nội Department of Natural Resources and Environment showed that on average, Hà Nội consumes more than 528 tonnes of coal per day, meaning 1,870 tonnes of carbon dioxide are released into the air daily.
Thousands of coal traditional earthenware stoves contribute to this figure, with many placed on pavements, in public places and at small restaurants.
Statistics of the Poisoning Prevention Centre under the Bạch Mai Hospital showed that dozens of patients need treatment for coal air poisoning per year, and fatalities have been reported.
Its latest survey on hundreds of households in Ba Đình, Đống Đa and Sóc Sơn districts showed that the rate of residents using coal stove was 73, 63 and 56 per cent, respectively.
A coal stove costs about VNĐ100,000-200,000 (US$4-8).
Nguyễn Thị Hoa, a Đống Đa District resident, said that she has sold rice vermicelli for the past two years, using a coal stove.
“It takes only VNĐ3,000 ($0.1) per piece of coal for the stove can I can cook for two hours,” she said.
Hoa added that all restaurants nearby use the cooker.
“I know that it is poisonous, but if I use a modern cooker, I will not have profits, and would even suffer losses,” she said.
Lê Đình Công, a resident in Đống Đa District, said his family used a gas cooker, but many neighbours use coal stoves.
“All of my small alley is full of coal smell causing difficulty breathing,” he said.
“I’m not sure it is because of coal stoves or not, but every night I feel a tightness across my chest, dizzyness and difficulty breathing,” said Công.
Nguyễn Thanh Mai, a doctor of the Bạch Mai Hospital, said coal stoves could lead to different diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, lung cancer and coal air poisoning.
But, she said, it was difficult to ban the stoves, especially for those with low income.
“We need to give more instruction to residents to limit the stoves’ harm,” said Mai.
People should use the stoves in airy places, and not it in narrow or closed rooms to avoid poisoning, she said.
In 2011, a mother and her two children in the central province of Hà Tĩnh died of coal air poisoning after using coal stove to warm their house at night.
On February in 2014, a man in the central province of Thanh Hóa passed out unconscious whereas his daughter died after using the stove to stay warm. — VNS