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Vietnam’s ‘most polluted road’ poses serious health risks to residents

Thursday, December 19, 2019, 20:03 GMT+7
Vietnam’s ‘most polluted road’ poses serious health risks to residents
A road in the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Ninh has been dubbed the country’s most polluted. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

A street in the northern province of Bac Ninh has been dubbed Vietnam’s most polluted road as mountains of garbage along the route have led to serious health problems for local residents.

Located in Dai Dong Commune, Tien Du District, about 20 kilometers northeast of Hanoi, the concrete road has transitioned from a rural route to a makeshift landfill as authorities seem unwilling to put an end to the dozens of local residents who dump their trash on its shoulder each day.

According to locals, a section of the road had once been a pick-up point for garbage collectors, but since the commune’s authorities ran out of funds to pay for the trash to be transported to a landfill, the road has become inundated with rubbish.

A pile of burned garbage on the side of the road. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

A pile of burned garbage on the side of the road. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Now, simply burning the garbage has become a band-aid solution that has left local residents with a whole new set of problems, namely serious pollution and extreme health risks.

“The problem has persisted for nearly two years. We have reported it to both commune- and district-level authorities but no considerable change has been made,” said Do Thi Tuyet, a 52-year-old Dai Dong resident.

“It’s so filthy. We live nearby and have to put up with the smell, smoke, and a lot of flies. The area is even worse during the rainy season,” Khuong Thi Dien, another local resident, complained.

Household garbage is dumped along the street. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Household garbage is dumped along the road. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thi Sa, who also lives in the neighborhood, said she once had to be hospitalized for 10 days to treat a lung condition caused by the pollution.

Meanwhile, several other residents have complained of sore throats, flu, coughing, and fevers brought about by the heavily polluted air.

A probe by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper showed that the situation is not unique to Dai Dong Commune alone and similar ‘garbage roads’ exist in other places throughout the province, including Yen Trung Commune, Yen Phong District.

A man rides his bicycle along ‘garbage street.’ Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

A man rides his bicycle along a ‘garbage road.’ Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

According to Dao Quang Khai, director of the Bac Ninh Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the agency has asked the administration in Tien Du District to deal with the issue.

Khai also refuted claims that budgeting shortfalls are the reason why such ‘garbage roads’ remain.

According to the Tuoi Tre probe, Bac Ninh does not have a waste treatment plant in each district, which certainly could be the primary cause of the problem.

Household garbage is dumped along the street. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Household garbage is dumped along the road. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Local residents wear masks to protect themselves from the pollution. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

Local residents wear masks to protect themselves from the pollution. Photo: Quang The / Tuoi Tre

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