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Big livestock farms cause serious pollution

Concentrated animal feed operations (CAFO) are better equipped than household-run livestock farms, but many of them lack waste management systems, causing serious pollution in rural areas.

VietNamNet Bridge – Concentrated animal feed operations (CAFO) are better equipped than household-run livestock farms, but many of them lack waste management systems, causing serious pollution in rural areas, according to the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development.



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In 2003, when the bird flu epidemic broke out, government agencies persuaded farming households to relocate their farms to concentrated poultry farming complexes in an effort to strengthen epidemic control and protect people’s health.

Poultry epidemics have been controlled well but environmental problems are still not settled.

The households in the concentrated complexes have been told to follow scientific farming method to take full advantage of the existing materials and minimize risks. Solid waste, for example, can be used to make fertilizer after a composting period.

However, a recent survey, conducted under a project funded by the International Development Research Centre in Canada, found that only 9 percent of the farms in the farming complexes had composting tanks and put livestock waste into composting.

Meanwhile, 69 percent of households sold poultry waste, thus causing danger to farmers and threat to biosafety.

Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, a project coordinator, said 94 percent of farming households in concentrate complexes and 100 percent of households outside complexes did not use gloves when feeding fowl, while 90 percent and 86 percent did not use gloves when touching poultry waste and feed leftover.

Only 48 percent and 44 percent wore protective masks and applied labor safety measures when entering farms.

Tuan and his associates also found that only 25 and 21 percent of households discharged waste water into separate waste treatment tanks. About 70 percent of households were found discharging waste water on the ground next to cages in the farms without any treatment.

“More and more children and old people have respiratory diseases,” said Nguyen Thi Thu, the chair of the Tot Dong Commune’s Agriculture Cooperative in Chuong My District in Hanoi. “It would be very dangerous to people if poultry epidemics break out, especially ones which can transmit from poultry to humans”.

The report showed that the majority of farmers do not think they need to go to clinics to have periodic health examinations. More than 50 percent of farmers did not have health examinations for 12 months. In most cases, people only go to see doctors when they see serious signs of disease.

Patients do not think their diseases were related to poultry farming. Only 30 percent of them doubted that farming was the reason behind the diseases.

Dan Viet

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