Pollution remains problem for craft villages
VietNamNet Bridge – While authorities say that environmental pollution from industries in craft villages is a result of low awareness among villagers, residents complain that local authorities solutions are ineffective and have many shortcomings.
Polluted river behind a craft village
Hanoi has the largest number of craft villages in the country. According to the local Department of Industry and Trade, Hanoi has about 1,350 craft villages, of which 286 are recognised as traditional villages. After surveying seven villages last year, the Hanoi Environmental Protection Agency pointed out that river, lake and even groundwater in these areas is severely polluted.
Vinh, a local who is specialises in making bun (noodles) in Phu Do Village, Nam Tu Liem District, said that their work could not be the cause of such pollution. On the other hand, Khanh, the owner of a plastic recycling facility in Trieu Khuc Village admitted that their activities can cause pollution, but they continue the work because they do not know what else to do. The job has been passed on for generations.
Professor Dang Kim Chi from the School of Environmental Science and Technology has researched pollution at traditional villages for 30 years. According to her, the people refuse to treat their wastewater because it would cost them in electricity and there is no punishment for discharging untreated water.
To deal with this problem, authorities in Thanh Tri District set up a industrial complex in 2010 so that households that make handicrafts could move their work out of residential areas. But the plan failed because of the craft village's family-oriented working model. If they agree, they would move their entire family to live in the complex. As the result, the industrial complex would become new settlement area and the pollution problem would remain.
A local in Tran Trieu Commune near the complex also complained about the pollution caused by textile workshop in the complex. "These workshops discharge waste water at night and the foul smell travels to our village."
Tran The Loan, from Vietnam Environment Administration, admitted that communal authorities did not build water treatment systems for these complexes. Many experts said that, without waste treatment systems and proper management, these complexes would be then continued cause of pollution in coming years. Loan said the pollution problem came both from low awareness of people and local authorities.
Recycling plastic at Trieu Khuc Village
He said, "Several factories have disguised themselves as craft village to avoid environmental responsibility. We need to reconsider the definition of craft village and revise our preservation plan. Some types of industries must be moved out of residential areas completely."
According to professor Dang Kim Chi, from the School of Environmental Science and Technology, waste treatment is different based on the industry in question. "The waste from villages that make noodles or bread is different from village that recycles plastic or metal," Chi said. She went on to say that the plan will only work if the waste treatment solutions are simple and cheap, so that the villagers can invest and operate them on their own.