Cement factories in northern Hai Duong Province’s Kinh Mon District – a symbol of the region’s industrial development in 1990s – are now proving an environmental concern for the local authority.
Duy Tan Commune, which has four of the district’s six cement-making factories, is by far the most polluted part of the province.
Le Van Khuyen, who lives in Trai Xanh Hamlet, said his wife even had to wear a face mask in their house. He said the high cancer rate in the district was blamed on pollution from the plants.
Nguyen Van Dau, the commune’s health centre manager, said about 400 people were admitted to the centre with respiratory problems each month.
In 2005 and 2006, local residents protested outside two cement plants because of the pollution.
The province’s Natural Resources and Environment Department vice director, Nguyen Huu Loc, said the local authority ordered the cement plants to clean up their act, but to little avail.
He said two of the factories in Kim Thanh and Tu Ki districts were temporarily closed because of the pollution they were causing.
He said four plants in Duy Tan Commune had since installed filters to minimise the environmental damage they were causing. He said the Ha Noi University of Technology’s Institute of Science and Environmental Technology judged that air quality in the district met Health Ministry standards.
The Government called on cement plants using out-dated technology to close by 2010 because of their harmful effects on the environment. However, they were still operating because they were a major local employer, Loc said.
Pham Quang Phuc, director of Duyen Linh Cement Factory, said the plant was given a reprieve in 2005 after it invested billions of dong filtering the smoke it churned out. He said the filters cut pollution by an estimated 80 per cent.
Phuc said the factory did not have enough money to install new technology.
"Investment for rotary kiln technology is 10 times higher than that for vertical ones.
Furthermore, rotary kilns occupy at lease 10ha-12ha, while the existing facility occupies just 1ha," Phuc said.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News