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​Ho Chi Minh City environment head blames ‘climate change’ for stinky landfill

Wednesday, July 04, 2018, 17:07 GMT+7

The head of Ho Chi Minh City’s environment agency said climate change and season-related factors have caused odors to rise from the southern metropolis’ largest landfill and pervade neighboring residential areas in recent times.

A stench from the Da Phuoc Landfill, located in Binh Chanh District, has been carried by seasonal winds to neighboring places, especially to District 7’s Phu My Hung New Urban Area, which is famed for its multiple luxury apartments and services for high-income dwellers.

The entire District 7 and part of suburban Binh Chanh and Nha Be Districts make up southern Ho Chi Minh City.

With residents in these areas having repeatedly called on authorities for help as the foul odors have plagued their lives, the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment held a press conference on Tuesday to address the issue.

Nguyen Toan Thang, the department director, started the meeting by claiming that his agency had already installed “an observation system connected to a forecast center” which could detect in advance which landfills would release foul smell even before the Da Phuoc smell issue was reported by local media.

“[Thanks to this system], we know that this year there will be foul smell [from the Da Phuoc landfill] under the influence of climate change and season-related factors,” he said.

Nguyen Toan Thang, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment, speaks at conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, July 3, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Nguyen Toan Thang, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment, speaks at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, July 3, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

While Thang did not clarify whether the climate change influence was global or local, or what the seasonal influence actually was, he appeared to be referring to a southwest monsoon that blows across southern Vietnam between May and around November.

The vast dump of Da Phuoc, now around 27 meters high, buries approximately 5,000 metric tons out of 8,900 metric tons of solid garbage the whole city disposes of every day, according to Thang

The municipal authorities have started deploying a number of solutions to contain the spread of the landfill smell, like spraying chemicals and extending the interval of receiving garbage, Thang said.

But he supposed this did not go to the heart of the problem.

“Only by switching to incineration can the bad smell be tamed,” he underlined. “And the key point is using new waste treatment technologies.”

Ho Chi Minh City is relying on landfills as the chief waste treatment practice, with about 70 percent of the 8,900 metric tons of urban garbage buried in the ground daily, and the rest destined for incineration, according to Vo Van Hoan, chief of the municipal People’s Committee Secretariat.

The government has set the target of reducing the proportion of landfill trash to less than 50 percent by 2020 as it recognizes that the landfill method inevitably produces bad smell, however advanced its waste treatment technology may be, Hoan said.

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Thai Xuan / Tuoi Tre News

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