Residents take a stand against waste

Thien Thanh Sanitaryware joint company

Residents take a stand against waste

Residents living in Cai Rang District of southern Can Tho Province have had to cope with severe pollution for several months while waiting for city authorities to find a solution to treat the waste.

Nguyen Thi Chuoi, a resident of Phu Thu Ward in Cai Rang District, said that in the past two months, she had seen hundreds of vans driving into the area to dump waste everyday.

"The smell is terrible and there are flies everywhere," she said, pointing to six fly-catchers that had become covered with flies after just one hour.

"We have protested aggressively but they keep on dumping the waste. We can't stand it anymore and perhaps we need to get all the residents together and stop the vans from coming in," she said.

Phan Van Sang, who lives close to the dumping site, said many residents had fallen ill since the city began dumping all of its waste in the area.

"Flies are flying around our tables and there are even more of them in our food," he said.

No space for waste

Residents of the Cai Rang District are not the only residents, or the first to suffer the impacts of waste dumping. Before the waste was brought to the district, it was driven to several other locations and ultimately affected residents.

According to a leader of the city's Department of Construction, in 2004, when the former Can Tho Province was separated into Can Tho City and Hau Giang Province, all waste from Can Tho City was dumped at the Tan Long waste dump in Hau Giang Province.

Hau Giang Province at that time informed Can Tho City authorities that the Tan Long waste dump would be closed by the end of 2013.

Since the closure of the Tan Long site, Can Tho City's authority has struggled to find alternative places to dump the city's waste. Initially, the waste was carried along to Phuoc Thoi Ward in O Mon District in the city, attracting the furor of nearby residents.

"The authority said they would soon build a waste treatment factory when they started dumping more waste in the area. But until now we haven't seen any factory, just a giant pile of waste that smells terrible," said Phuoc Thoi Ward resident Do Van On.

By the end of April, residents of the district had gathered to stop the vans from entering the area. Flummoxed, the city authority then took the waste to the Hoa Phu site in neighbouring Vinh Long Province. Not long after, Vinh Long residents took to the streets to stop the vans from entering the dumping site.

Vo Thanh Thong, vice chairman of Can Tho City's People's Committee, said the construction of the waste treatment factory would start in three months and would be completed within 9 months.

Meanwhile, the city authority had ordered the managers of the waste dumps to treat the pollution so that nearby residents are not affected, Thong said.