Thousands choke on noxious factory fumes in Thanh Hoa

Published: 17/06/2011 05:00



About 4,500 residents are reported to have suffered from respiratory problems due to noxious gases being emitted by Lam Son Paper Company in Nong Cong District, in the central province of Thanh Hoa.

The firm, which recycles paper from materials such as bamboo, has a design capacity of 10,000 tonnes per year, but in reality is capable of producing just 8,000 tonnes.

Residents said the factory had been emitting odorous fumes since 2005.

The plant is also accused of discharging about 500cu.m of noxious waste daily into the Yen River, which has since become cloudy and begun to smell.

Vu Van Que, 65, who lives in Van Thang Commune, said: “When the factory is operating, all the residents in my area say they cannot bear the smell.”

Residents also say they have had difficulty breathing, and regularly suffer from diarrhoea and attacks of scabies.

Que said numerous complaints had been made to local authorities but that nothing had been done.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Van Thang Commune People’s Committee, Nguyen Van Niem, said pollution had adversely affected residents in 10 villages, such as Quyet Thang, Gian Hien, Ban Tho and Dong Tai.

Making matters worse, he said there were three schools and a medical centre in the vicinity of the factory.

Meanwhile, Le Van Thuc, the factory’s director, admitted the company had been polluting the environment.

He said his firm was in the process of building a waste-treatment facility, costing about VND7 billion (US$350,000), which would be operational by this October.

“We are digging five ponds into which we will discharge our waste. Bacteria in the water will get rid of the smell,” he said.

Tran Van Thuan, chairman of Nong Cong District People’s Committee, said the provincial People’s Committee temporarily closed the company in 2005 because of the pollution.

It was allowed to re-open shortly later when it pledged to deal with problem. However, things deteriorated again, he said.

“We have told the company that it must complete construction of its waste-treatment facility on schedule or it would be shut,” Thuan added.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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