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Hanoi works to reduce pollution in craft villages
Anh Kiet 21:32, 2024/02/18
Hanoi has launched a comprehensive plan to eradicate pollution in craft villages by 2025.

For decades, people in the woodworking village of Lien Trung Commune in the outskirts of Hanoi's Dan Phuong District have lived in fear because of the dust and noise emitted by wood factories near their homes, which has disrupted their daily lives.

"Wood factories have not properly managed environmental impacts, resulting in air, water, and noise pollution, and dust has spread into the air over a wide area, seriously affecting our health and lives," Nguyen Trong Tue, a thirty-year-old resident of Lien Trung Commune, told The Hanoi Times. 

 The wood workshop is located in the middle of a densely populated area, right in front of the Lien Trung Commune People's Committee. Photo: Anh Kiet/The Hanoi Times

"Meanwhile, fire safety regulations were not followed, leading to many very dangerous fires, the largest of which occurred at the end of 2021. The fire happened during the day and someone discovered it in time, but it spread quickly and widely to five other wood factories. If it happened at night, we don't know what the consequences would be for our lives because our houses are close to this wood factory," Tue added.

Following numerous complaints from local people, Nguyen Thac Hung, Vice-chairman of the Dan Phuong District People's Committee, has decided that polluting timber factories would have to relocate by 2022.

 "For the sustainable development of the district, we are determined to deal with any violations promptly," Hung told The Hanoi Times.

In May 2033, the district authorities had dealt with 92 cases of infringement on an area of 2.44 hectares. As of mid-November 2023, another 30 cases of illegal violations have been addressed. 

 Thanks to support from the authorities, many households in Lien Trung Commune voluntarily dismantled the polluting workshops. Photo: Anh Kiet/The Hanoi Times

"The enforcement confirms Dan Phuong District's strong determination to protect the environment for local people. The areas vacated after the relocation will be used to build cultural spaces for the community," Hung stressed.

Nguyen Van Phong, a resident of Cao Vien Commune (Thanh Oai District), who also suffers from environmental pollution caused by the garment village, said that a large amount of rags and waste from garment workshops are dumped every day.

"However, the waste is not taken to the treatment plant on time, so it piles up and causes a bad smell. We also have to live with the dumping of untreated waste into the Bich Hoa canal from cattle slaughterhouses in the neighboring village," Phong told Hanoimoi.

According to Nguyen Tien Ngoc Tu, Head of Thanh Oai District's Natural Resources and Environment Department, the authorities have set up 11 self-management groups in 11 villages in the district specializing in environmental protection.

The Bich Hoa canal (Thanh Oai District) is currently heavily polluted due to the discharge of waste from livestock slaughterhouses. Photo: Hanoimoi

"In addition, a 400-square-meter dump has been set up to collect garbage before it is transported by electric vehicles to the waste treatment plant. The result is remarkably efficient, and it has limited waste in residential areas," Tu said.

In Phu Xuyen District, artisan villages suffer from the smell of chemicals and the stuffy atmosphere. Vu Van Huu, head of the district's Natural Resources and Environment Department, said the district has 124 craft villages.

"Craft villages have made significant contributions to the economy, providing jobs with high incomes for workers. However, many years of discharging untreated waste from hundreds of production facilities has resulted in water sources turning black or frozen," Huu added.

He told The Hanoi Times that to resolve the above situation, the Phu Xuyen District authorities have recently set up working groups to inspect many organizations, individuals, and production facilities in the area and strictly deal with violations to ensure the sustainable development of traditional handicraft villages.

"The department has made it a priority to protect and improve the quality of the environment. As a result, many villages have been gradually revitalized, improving the living conditions of the local people," Huu said.

  

In Bat Trang Ceramic Village in Gia Lam District, villagers used to suffer from toxic gases such as CO2, SO2, and H2S due to the use of charcoal for baking pottery in the past but now, thanks to the use of gas kilns for baking ceramics, households can increase profits by two or three times and reduce environmental pollution, according to Ha Van Lam.

 Workers in Bat Trang Ceramics Village (Gia Lam District, Hanoi) use gas kilns to reduce pollution. Photo: Nguyen Nga/The Hanoi Times

 "Nevertheless, pollution is a real concern for both the authorities and local residents. Only a small amount of wastewater from artisan villages is treated in centralized wastewater treatment plants in industrial clusters. The majority is discharged directly into the environment," said Nguyen Manh Phuong, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Regarding the measures to deal with the pollution in the artisan villages, he said that the city has organized a conference to discuss the program for the development of agriculture, construction of new rural areas, and improvement of farmers' lives in the period 2024-26.

"The city government has come up with many solutions for domestic wastewater treatment, animal waste, waste from handicraft villages, and domestic waste in rural areas of the city. In the coming period, the city will focus on environmental impact assessment in severely polluted craft villages," Phuong told The Hanoi Times.

The city would focus on applying new technologies to deal with pollution. "It will also relocate home workshops to the expanded industrial clusters of handicraft villages. New technologies will be introduced to treat solid waste and wastewater from craft villages to minimize pollution," Phuong said.

He stressed that Hanoi will invest about VND600 billion (US$24.6 million) to build an environmental treatment system in 30 polluted craft villages by 2025. The city will also spend more than VND13 trillion ($619 million) to combat pollution in 44 handicraft villages specializing in the production of food and agricultural commodities.

 The pottery industry in Bat Trang Village has created tens of thousands of jobs for local people. Photo: Pham Hung/The Hanoi Times

In particular, Hanoi has built a wastewater treatment plant in Van Canh brocade weaving village (Hoai Duc District) and a wastewater treatment plant for Thanh Thuy metal craft village (Thanh Oai District), Phuong said.

Some notable environmental projects include the dust-cleaning project in Van Ha woodworking village (Dong Anh District), a wastewater treatment project in Tan Hoa cassava processing village (Quoc Oai District), and a wastewater treatment plant for Duong Lieu craft hub (Hoai Duc District).

"In addition to government funding, the city also encourages other economic sectors and the community to participate in pollution management to achieve the goal of successfully tackling the issue in all craft villages by 2030," the deputy director said.

Full compliance to meet environmental protection requirements

Hanoi has launched a comprehensive plan to tackle pollution in craft villages by 2025. Looking ahead to 2030, the city aims to successfully relocate production facilities from artisan villages to industrial zones and clusters and designated production sites as outlined in the approved master plan.

To achieve these goals, Hanoi has established an implementation roadmap to ensure strict compliance with environmental protection laws.

The city will accelerate investments in environmental infrastructure designed for craft villages following the environmental criteria set out in the Law on Environmental Protection.

Regular assessments of environmental pollution levels will be conducted, and appropriate measures will be taken to mitigate and prevent environmental degradation and pollution risks.


The municipal government will also strengthen inspection and monitoring efforts to ensure that production households in handicraft villages comply with environmental protection regulations and requirements.

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