Thousands of people in the central Quang Ngai Province’s Hoa Binh Village earn money by recycling used tyres, regardless of the environment pollution and health risks.
In the village in Nghia Hoa Commune, used tyres are seen lying everywhere, in yards, gardens and on either side of the roads. Used tyres, purchased from all corners of the country, are sold to truck or tyre manufacturing plants and products are made from them, depending on quality.
Le Tan Trung, a village resident, said that it took time to get used to the smell of old rubber tyres. He himself had difficulty in breathing and couldn’t eat when he started working.
Nguyen Van Dung, another resident, said many people developed nail diseases on their fingers and toes after handling used tyres for a long time.
Figures from the local authority showed that more than 1,200 people in the village have chosen this profession. They make profits between VND200,000 and VNN500,000 (US$10.3-25.9) per tyre by purchasing and selling it.
Tran Thi Ha Vu, deputy head of the provincial People’s Committee’s environment protection department, said environment protection and labour safety and hygiene in the village were rather weak. Most of the labourers work without protective clothing and in substandard working conditions. They face a fire risk too, as rubber is a flammable material.
Nguyen Van Ba, deputy chairman of Nghia Hoa Commune’s People’s Committee, said this profession has created jobs for the local people, but the risk of getting diseases should be considered carefully.
The constant inhalation of rubber dust is very harmful for the respiratory system and can cause headache, dizziness, difficulty in breathing and respiratory paralysis.
Ba said the committee has considered shifting household businesses to other places with the area of more than one hectare to help reduce environment pollution and health risks to other local people, while protecting the income of these businesses.