Honeycomb charcoal stoves of a business household in Phú Lãm Ward, Hà Nội's Hà Đông District. — VNA/VNS Minh Nghĩa
HÀ NỘI — The capital city is making efforts to completely eliminate the use of honeycomb charcoal for both domestic and commercial purposes this year, aiming to reduce the worsening air pollution.
The use of honeycomb briquette stoves in Hà Nội has decreased sharply. Many areas have completely eliminated this type of stove.
According to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, there were still more than 11,080 of them as of the third quarter of 2020.
Over 43,410 stoves have been removed, a decrease of 79.66 per cent compared to 2017.
The areas with the highest reduction rates are Hoàn Kiếm, Thạch Thất and Sóc Sơn districts.
Meanwhile, five districts still have the highest number of charcoal stoves including Hoàng Mai, Hai Bà Trưng, Ba Đình, Đống Đa and Đan Phượng, respectively.
A recent survey conducted by the Environmental Protection Department at ten coal and honeycomb charcoal manufacturers in Tây Hồ, Hai Bà Trưng and Thanh Xuân districts showed the amount of coal decreased sharply from September to November, 2020 with an average output of less than 1,000 charcoal bricks per day in each workshop.
The establishments have converted and diversified into other businesses.
On streets in Hoàn Kiếm District such as Hàng Bài, Hàng Bông, Bà Triệu, Nam Ngư and Quán Sứ there are no longer honeycomb briquette stoves in use.
People have completely eliminated the use of charcoal stoves and switched to gas and electric cookers, vietnamplus.vn reported.
Nguyễn Mạnh Đức, owner of a food stall on Hàng Bồ Street, said he has switched to a different type of cooker instead of a honeycomb briquette stove to ensure the safety of customers and protect his own health after listening the local authorities' reports about the harmful effects of honeycomb.
Every day people burn more than 500 tonnes of charcoal, which emit 1,870 tonnes of carbon dioxide to the air a day, according to the environmental protection division.
Dealing with this situation, the People's Committee of Hà Nội issued a directive dated October 30, 2019 with the target that all localities stop the use of honeycomb briquette stoves by the end of 2020 for both domestic and commercial purposes.
And from January 1, 2021, any individual or commercial business caught using such briquettes will be fined according to the Governmental decree on administrative penalties for environmental protection.
However, in reality, in some areas such as Hà Đông, Long Biên, Tây Hồ, Hoàng Mai and Đống Đa districts, there are still many people using honeycomb charcoal stoves for business and daily life, the newspaper reported.
This stove is mostly used by small business households and low-income people.
One of the reasons for the use of this type of stove is the low cost of charcoal briquettes, which are only about VNĐ3,000 (US$0.13) each.
Nguyễn Thị Thu, owner of food stall on the sidewalk in Long Biên District, said: “I know the city has a policy to eliminate the honeycomb briquette stove because of environmental pollution, but my family has not yet been able to buy a gas or electric stove. And it's not easy to install an electric cooker in my stall so I still use honeycomb charcoal."
Due to family circumstances and profits, many households continue to use the charcoal briquette stoves.
According to the analysis of specialised agencies, the charcoal also generates dust, including PM2.5 dust and other emissions such as CO2, CO, SO2, and PAHs, affecting people' health.
Communication documents about the harmful effects of honeycomb charcoal have been posted at many public places, on streets and markets, in order to raise awareness and encourage people to stop us charcoal briquette.
Localities are also strengthening propaganda and giving supportive policies for people to switch to using environmentally friendly cookers and support charcoal briquette manufacturers in converting to other forms of business. — VNS