Pollution problems worsen in capital
  • | VNS | August 06, 2011 04:22 PM

Environmentalists reported that pollution has recently worsened in Hanoi, caused by solid and water waste as well as exhaust fumes.

To Lich River

Contamination has seriously affected local residents\' health and daily lives, they said.

Fourteen hospitals in the western part of the city had their waste treatment systems downgraded, and eight central hospitals temporarily treated waste with Cloramin B when their systems failed.

Fewer than 200 of the city\'s 3,000 enterprises discharging industrial waste have proper treatment systems, and many only use them in the presence of the police and inspectors.

In the past two years, the city authorities have expanded programmes to collect solid waste, burying up to 70 per cent of daily waste and treating water in local lakes. But their efforts have had a limited effect.

One of the main causes of pollution is a simple lack of awareness on the part of local residents, said deputy director of the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment Pham Van Khanh.

"Most people think that treating environmental pollution is the Government\'s work. If they continue to rely on the State like that, the problem cannot be solved," he said.

Over the past two years, the enterprises causing pollution have developed faster than waste treatment schemes, making it difficult to address the issue.

Khanh also blamed light punishments for the enterprises\' continuing resistance to environmental reform.

"Businesses would rather just pay the fines than set up a system, since the latter is doubly expensive," he said.

Depending on the level of pollution, an enterprise can be fined up to VND70 million (USD3,400).

City authorities have called for investment from enterprises to carry out the project of collecting and treating daily waste, said Khanh.

The city, in conjunction with the Advanced International Joint-stock Company, is considering building a waste treatment factory in Soc Son District.

Hanoi has also begun a pilot project to burn solid waste in My Duc District.

"We assigned at least two environmental officials to each district," he said.

The city discharges about 1,250 tonnes of rubbish a day, 100 tonnes of which come from industrial zones and hospitals, according to statistics of the Hanoi Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

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