HANOI - Heavy pollution from the Nam Son garbage dump has badly affected the lives of residents in Ha Noi's Soc Son District, officials say.
Nguyen Tien Van, Vice Chairman of the Nam Son Commune People's Committee, data compiled by the commune's healthcare office, show respiratory diseases had increased over the past several years.
Environmental workers collect samples from the dump for testing every three months, but the situation seemed to be under-evaluated and reported, he said.
"We still have to live with the toxic smell and use polluted water for daily life."
Vu Tien Luc, head of Xuan Thinh Ward, which is located about 300m away from the city's biggest garbage dump, said a total of 156 residents were suffering from "terrible pollution of water and air."
Pointing to a stinking dump that looked like a mountain with swarms of flies around it, Luc said that although residents used masks when going outside, the stink and the polluted air penetrating directly and deeply into their noses.
He said water, particular from bore wells, had turned black and also stank badly.
The Nam Son garbage dump, covering 83.5ha was first put into use in 1999. Everyday, it receives more than 4,000 tonnes of waste.
The three communes near the dump, Bac Son, Nam Son and Hong Ky, are now suffering from severe air and water pollution.
Deputy Director General of the Viet Nam Environment Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Hoang Duong Tung, said most of solid waste disposal facilities in cities were overland dumps that failed to meet quality and structural standards.
He said high costs and a lack of co-operation from provincial and local authorities made he application of advanced technology for solid waste treatment a very tough task for environment-protection agencies.
Currently, most solid waste collection and treatment was undertaken by a small number of private small-scale companies, Tung said.
He called for a national programme in solid waste treatment that would mobilise the efforts of all sectors and authorities.
Statistics compiled by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment show that about 28.5 million tonnes of solid waste is generated every year, of which 19 million tonnes are generated by residents.