The Cam Ly garbage dump, where Da Lat City’s waste is collected, was quietly burning for the third consecutive day on Tuesday, causing toxic smoke to drift into the center of the capital city of Lam Dong Province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.
Many residents of Ward 5 - where the landfill is situated, neighboring Ward 4, and the downtown area of the city have reported that the air has a strange smell and they find it difficult to breathe.
The yellowish smoke from the fire was evident in the downtown area of Da Lat on Tuesday morning.
“The black smoke accompanied by a very strong odor caused everyone in my family to have headaches and shortness of breath, and we could not stand it even though we closed the doors while sleeping,” said Le Thi Duc Hanh, who lives about 2km from the landfill.
|Toxic smoke rises from a smoldering fire at the Cam Ly landfill in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, March 14, 2023. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Hanh plans to move away from the garbage dump, rent a house elsewhere, and wait until the fire completely subsides.
The operator of the landfill has neither found a solution to the problem nor accurately determined the cause of the fire, which started smoldering on Saturday.
Firefighters were dispatched to the site as soon as the fire was discovered, but the thick layers of garbage accumulated for many years and the dry weather have hampered the effort.
|Toxic smoke from a smoldering fire at the Cam Ly landfill spreads to a nearby garden in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, March 14, 2023. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Authorities suspect that the fire might be the consequence of recent controlled burning, also known as prescribed burning, which involves setting planned fires to maintain the health of a forest.
It is predicted that the fire will continue because Da Lat is currently in a dry season.
Amid the smoldering fire, garbage trucks are still bringing waste to the landfill.
|Firefighters try to extinguish a smoldering fire at the Cam Ly landfill in Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, March 14, 2023. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The Cam Ly landfill is the largest waste dump in Da Lat, receiving hundreds of tons of waste from the tourist city with nearly 400,000 residents every day.
The People’s Committee of Lam Dong Province ordered the landfill be closed in 2020 and household waste from Da Lat and neighboring Lac Duong District be transported to the Da Lat Solid Waste Treatment Plant, located in the city’s Xuan Truong Commune, for processing.
Despite the order, the transport of waste to Cam Ly remains a daily practice.