The Long Viet MDF Wooden Technology JSC has been slow to improve its environmental protection practices even though the Dak Nong Province authorities have punished them several times.
Dozens of households in Thuan Hanh Commune, Dak Song District reported that the company started its work in 2009, mostly producing wooden items.
Since then, the company has discharged waste into the environment, damaging the health of residents.
Nguyen Xuan Hoa, who lives in the commune’s Thuan Tan Village, said that dust covered everything in the commune, including furniture and plants.
The air was often so polluted it was like fog, he said.
The smell of wood was so uncomfortable people had to wear masks, said Hoa.
Due to the dust, the productivity of coffee trees and other plants decreased.
Hoa added that a lot of local people suffered from respiratory diseases. Many parents had to send their small children to other places to live.
Vi Thi Huong, who lives next to the company, said that the company also discharged untreated waste water into the environment.
During the past years, local residents did not use well water for daily lives because the water had a bad smell and they suffered from scabies after using it.
“I’m afraid of having cancer because waste water from wood processing was poisonous,” said Huong.
Doan Thi Tot, chairwoman of the Thuan Hanh Commune People’s Committee, said that environmental pollution caused by the company was a hot topic in voter meetings of the Dak Nong People’s Council.
Local residents demonstrated in front of the company to ask them to lower the pollution several times.
The commune authorities have worked with the company, and reported the case to higher authorities for checking and a solution.
The commune also fined the company several times, and the highest fine was VND150 million (US$6,600).
Nguyen Van Hiep, deputy director of the Dak Nong Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that the company had pledged to set up a waste water and air treatment system.
The company was also editing its report on environmental impact to submit it to concerned organisations for approval.
A speaker from the provincial police said that the company improved its polluted practices, but the improvement has been too slow.