Hundreds households exposed to cancer because of polluted water
  • By Dang Duc | dtinews.vn | June 11, 2017 02:31 PM
Hundreds of households in Gio My Commune, Quang Tri Province are facing the risks of deadly illnesses as their underground water is contaminated.

Statistics from Gio My Commune People's Committee show that over 1,000 households still don't have clean water. Most of them are living in Nhi Thuong, An My, Cam Pho and Thuy Khe villages.

Nguyen Thanh Hop, party secretary of Cam Pho Village, said the villagers used to take water from a common well not far away, but two years ago, they were warned that the water in the well was no longer fit to use.

However, even when they dig for other wells, the water is still contaminated and has an excessive amount of metals.

More importantly, more and more villagers are being diagnosed with cancer and other skin and digestive diseases. People died because of cancer every year and each village has about two to three ill people.

"We are very worried and scared. It is suspected that the water caused the diseases because there weren't so many ill people before. Everyone thought that the titanium exploitation polluted the water source. Previously, the authorities had come and taken water samples for tests. Only one well was good enough for use, the others have high lead levels," he said.

Since then, the villagers have tried to dig deeper wells to no avail. Local Mai Thi Huong said the water turned yellow after a while so they had to buy water bottles for daily use.


The villagers have to use contaminated water

The Chairman of Gio My Commune Tran Xuan Loc said they had nearly 1,500 households and faced many difficulties. The commune is located in a low-lying terrain so they face drought in dry season and floods in the monsoon. In addition, there are many bombs and toxic chemicals left under the ground as the location used to be part of the McNamara Line in the American War.

There are only six wells that can supply clean water for 300 households, the others have to use contaminated water.

"We told the people to buy water bottles or water filter tanks but we are a poor commune. We hope to get support from government agencies so that people’s lives will be ensured," Loc said.

According to Loc, about 70 people were diagnosed with cancer, liver and skin diseases in the past six years and most of them have died. The people were advised to not use the contaminated water as their next generation might be affected.

Phan Hua Buu deputy director of the Centre for Rural Water and Environmental Sanitation in Quang Tri Province confirmed that the water samples taken from Gio My Commune contained high amounts of metals.

"The national target programme on rural clean water ended in 2016 as it was merged into the national target programme on new rural development. The job to build the water supply network now belongs to the local authorities," he said.

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