Residents living near Khanh Son dump in Lien Chieu District, the largest one in the city, blocked trucks from carrying garbage to the dump in protest of heavy pollution on Wednesday.
The pollution is an enduring issue and has threatened the health of 500 households near the area in Hoa Khanh Nam District located 20km north of the city centre.
Duong Thanh Thi, chairman of the district’s People’s Committee, said most of the city’s daily garbage is buried at the dump, causing deplorable air and groundwater pollution.
He said residents were protesting the slow pace of Quoc Viet Company, which is assigned to treat the garbage and handle pollution at the dump.
The poor condition of air in the region has been reported over the past two decades.
Nguyen Dieu, director of the city’s Natural Resources and Environment, said the city has taken drastic measures to collect rubbish and prevent garbage from being buried at the dump.
“I promise that rubbish will not be buried at the dump, as we invested in the first stage of a treatment plant with updated technology last year. But it’s impossible to move the dump to other places immediately because the city has to allocate a new ground,” Dieu said.
He said a supervisory team will join local residents in observing the operations of the dump, as well as surveying pollution.
He promised that the dump would be closed if the pollution gets worse.
Earlier, Quoc Viet Company, Waste Treatment and Dump management enterprise and the Viet Nam Environment Joint-Stock Company committed to stop air pollution before October 10, but they failed to complete their commitment.
“We have been living with poor air condition over the past 20 years,” said Nguyen Thi Xinh, a resident living near the dump. “Old people and children often suffer from dermatitis, pneumonia, and regular illnesses due to the polluted air and environment. Water leaking from the dump surrounds our living quarters, and flies are numerous in the area.”
As designed, the rubbish treatment plant at the dump will process 200 tonnes of rubbish per day in the first stage and will become operational by 2016.
The plant will process 100 per cent of daily rubbish for recycling into oil, unbaked bricks and bio-charcoal.
The city reserves an annual fund of VND7 billion (US$333,000) for waste collection and treatment, but it could not solve the problem of pollution at the dumps.
Khanh Son dump, which expanded from 9.8ha in 1992 to 48.3ha in 2007, will be closed down by 2020.
The old dump, which stored 1.4 million tonnes of rubbish between 1992 and 2006, has polluted underground water and the environment in the suburban Lien Chieu District.