Workers of Hòa Bình High-Tech Environment Joint Stock Company clean up at the scene of last month's fire. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng
HÀ NỘI — The light bulb factory that caught fire releasing toxic chemical fumes into the atmosphere late in August has been told that it must be relocated to the outskirts of Hà Nội.
Chairman of People’s Committee of Hà Nội Nguyễn Đức Chung ordered Rạng Đông Light Sources and Vacuum Flask JSC to find a new location.
He also tasked relevant agencies and sectors to urgently take measures to remedy environmental issues, triggered by a blaze occurred last month.
The move came after Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc told Chung to closely work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to handle the case on Monday.
Chung sent an urgent message on Tuesday asking the city’s Police Department to hand over the scene of the blaze back to the company to collect and treat waste left by the fire and clean up the mess.
Chung told the company to transfer the waste to hazardous waste treatment facilities.
And he said the company had to work with the High Command of Chemicals under the Ministry of National Defence to immediately remove toxic substances from the scene and the affected area around the fire. The company must also pay all costs.
The city’s Health Department and the People’s Committee of Thanh Xuân District were asked to conduct free examinations for all children and teachers in local kindergartens in two wards of Hạ Đình and Thanh Xuận Trung.
The Natural Resources and Environment Department and the People’s Committee of Thanh Xuân District must supervise all activities and send a detailed report to the city administration, Chung said.
The report’s findings will then be made public.
Chung required the Hà Nội Drainage One Member Limited Company to clean up sewer and drainage systems around the company and finish before September 20.
Answering questions about why the city administration has yet to organise a press conference to additionally announce official information of the case so far, deputy head of the city’s Propaganda and Training Committee Trần Xuân Hà said the authorised agencies were further investigating. The city would make public any new information.
Hà said the city was doing all it could to remedy the fire’s consequences and help residents get their lives back to normal, making health concerns a priority.
Major General Phạm Văn Tỵ, deputy head of Rescue Department under the Ministry of National Defence said on Tuesday that all forces and vehicles were ready for remedying the fire’s consequences.
On August 28, a fire broke out at a light bulb warehouse owned by the company in Thanh Xuân District’s Hạ Đình Ward.
Although firefighters rushed to the scene to extinguish the fire, a third of the 6,000sq.m warehouse, with more than four million light bulbs, was destroyed. Losses were estimated at about VNĐ150 billion (US$6.4 million).
The fire has raised public concern over exposure to mercury, a toxic metal that is used in fluorescent lights, triggered by the fire.
On September 4, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Võ Tuấn Nhân told local media that 15.1-27.2kg of mercury has been leaked into the surrounding areas after the fire.
At a press conference on the same day, the Việt Nam Environment Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said that the level of mercury found in the vicinity of the destroyed light bulb factory has been deemed safe to human health.
The administration still urged caution over possible adverse effects on the health of people living within a radius of 500m from the fences of the burnt warehouse.— VNS