Monday, April 21, 2008

Polluting glass workshops distress HCMC residents, bind officials

Residents of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 11 have long endured pollution from glass workshops and the local administration has failed to rectify the situation despite repeated complaints, according to a local newspaper.
Noise and fumes produced by the twelve small glass factories in the district have plagued local people for over 30 years.
The district People’s Committee Vice Chairman Vuong Tai Phuoc said since the workshops are not listed among the plants required to be relocated, authorities can only inspect and fine them according to the regulations of the Environmental Law.
Chairwoman of the People’s Committee of Ward 14 Quach Thi Mai said there used to be many workshops in the ward, but most of them had volunteered to move and only four remained in operation.
According to Mai, locals have complained many times about residual pollution but authorities cannot force the remaining workshops to move because no official mandate has been handed down and there isn’t a termination date for their business licenses.
B., who lives in the district’s Ward 14, said the furnaces from the adjacent Hung Phat workshop discharge vast quantities of smoke, dust, and heat that affect his house and other nearby residences.
He said he can hardly stand the sweltering heat and helping build facilities despite having built two walls 40-centimeter in width to shield his house.
“Vehicles also transport goods noisily day and night to the workshops, disturbing our peace,” B. added.
According to local people, most of them suffered ear, nose and throat afflictions due to the toxic emissions.
Some even died abruptly at middle-age due to unclear causes, the local newspaper reported.
Duong Cong Thanh, manager of Hung Phat, admitted to the newspaper that the workshop is aware of the pollution problem and has tried to mitigate its effects by dowsing the streets with water to dampen the heat and dust.
However, this action has been counterproductive since it causes the area to be flooded while failing to eradicate noxious fumes.
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