Local residents say the Ngu Huyen Khe river, a branch of the romantic Cau River, is dead after it was poisoned by the huge volume of waste water from paper plants located on the riverbank.
The Ngu Huyen Khe River looks inky-black on the two kilometer-long river section, from Phu Lam Commune in Tien Du District to Phong Khe Ward in Bac Ninh City. Along the riverbank, hundreds of chimneys at operational paper plants emit big columns of black smoke, and dirty waste water which goes into the river through their sewer systems.
In the villages, self-made cargo-laden vehicles travel on the roads, producing smoke and kicking up dust. Many transients suffer from a serious cough and feel nauseous as soon as they arrive in the area.
Thousands of local households have been breathing the smoke and the dust for many years.
The local authorities and competent agencies have never admitted that the diseases, including skin and respiratory ailments, are caused by power plants' waste discharge.
Duong O Village is a well-known craft village in Phong Khe District of Bac Ninh province. There are 1,117 households and 170 companies and cooperatives that make 200,000 tons of paper a year.
They also recycle everything they can, from steel and iron, to plastics and rubber.
Nguyen Van Toan, head of the hamlet, confirmed that production workshops in the locality usually use industrial waste as fuel and then discharge chemicals into the Ngu Huyen Khe River.
“They (the workshops) burn shoe soles, rags and plastic waste, which produces hazardous smoke. They usually burn the materials at night, when people go to bed,” he said.
“It is estimated that about 30 workshops use this kind of fuel. Fines have been imposed many times, but this didn't stop the problem. The huge profit they can make is more than enough to pay the fine,” he continued.
Also according to Toan, the workshops using industrial waste as fuel receive money from industrial zones as they “help” consume industrial waste, and cut fuel expenses.
Le Van Tan, chair of the Phong Khe Ward People's Committee said, in the past, they burned coal and firewood, but now they use industrial waste to cut expenses during the economic crisis.
A local resident in Phong Khe Ward said there were about 200 operational paper plants in the locality. “The volume of bleach the plants use alone is enough to poison thousands of locals. It is estimated that three-tenths of the bleach volume used is discharged into the river,” he said.
When asked if he was informed about the waste water discharge, Nguyen Huu Thi, Secretary of the Phu Lam Commune's Party Committee, said the local plants have nowhere to discharge waste water, except the river.
waste water, phong khe, bac ninh, local authorities, well known, craft village, industrial waste, kind of, industrial zones, economic crisis, water discharge, party committee
4,500 hectares of forest lost in Dak Nong in last five years(23:29 01/10/2014)
Experts say assessment of Laos' dam unconvincing(23:29 01/10/2014)
Pollution contaminates Hai Phong waterways(23:29 01/10/2014)
'Shrimp rush' damages protective forests in central coastal provinces(08:16 29/09/2014)
Hydropower plant erodes nearby land(19:16 28/09/2014)
Ministry takes emergency measures to protect wild Asian elephants(14:12 27/09/2014)
Experts discuss climate change(10:45 27/09/2014)
VN assesses dam impact on Mekong(19:26 26/09/2014)
Deputy PM speaks to UN on climate(15:00 26/09/2014)
Quang Nam farmland turned into one big gold-mining site(09:31 26/09/2014)
Climate change affects children(21:06 25/09/2014)
Ministry wants to shut down two polluting sugar factories(15:39 25/09/2014)