Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Vietnam News: Aluminum recycling seriously affects people’s health (18 Feb 2014)

Aluminum recycling seriously affects people’s health 

Thứ ba, ngày 18 tháng 02 năm 2014 cập nhật lúc 10:44

The people in Nam Truc district of Nam Dinh province, who earn their living by recycling aluminum, are exchanging their futures for the daily bread.
The aluminum recycling has been “imported” to the locality for a short period, but it has been growing so rapidly, simply because the job brings high income to local people.

However, the strong development of the handicraft also means the more alarming environment pollution.
According to the Nam Dinh provincial Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, the process of collecting aluminum from beer cans discharges some 40 tons of solid hazardous waste every day. Meanwhile, the waste water generated by the product cleaning could be up to 500 cubic meters per day.
The hazardous waste has been discharged directly to the villages’ sewers, roads, fields, or the local canals. Therefore, no creature can survive here for many years recently.
The paths and houses of the Binh Yen aluminum recycling village all produce a bad odor and terrible noise. Here the sewers all look milky because of the big amount of precipitated sulfuric acid.
The precipitated sulfuric acid looks solid, but in fact, it is flabby, thus causing canals and sewers to be stuck, blocking the water streams.

According to Bui Binh Minh, deputy head of the Binh Yen Village, there were only four households in the village recycling aluminum in 1989, with the materials brought from Van Chang commune or Bac Ninh province.
However, the number of households earning their living with this job has been increasing rapidly: 269 out of the 570 households in the village now recycle aluminum.
In fact, local people have been aware of the high risks they face when doing the job. However, they still have to do the job for daily bread.

Therefore, Dang Ngoc Ben, Head of the Binh Yen Village, admitted that it is impossible to eliminate the aluminum recycling village, because it brings money to people.
“What we want is to relocate the craft village to another place far away from residential quarters,” Ben said. “Only by that time, will we have fresh air to breathe.”
The polluting aluminum recycling village has been a hot potato to the Nam Dinh provincial authorities over the last many years. The provincial people’s committee funded the VND3 billion project on dumping and treating solid waste from the Binh Yen village.

Under the project, financial support was given to help local households build manholes, plastics tanks to put solid waste and labor protection tools
However, the project was not really effective partially because of the overly high construction cost and the people’s low responsibility for environmental protection.
According to Nguyen Van Ngoan, Chair of the Tam Thanh Commune People’s Committee, the canals in Binh Yen village cannot be dredged because it is unclear where to throw the waste mud. Meanwhile, the serious pollution has narrowed the area of land ready for agriculture production.

Meanwhile, Director of the Nam Dinh provincial department of natural resources and the environment--Vu Minh Luong, admitted that the local authorities have become powerless in dealing with the problem in Binh Yen.

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