Food/Gas Price Increase Forces Waste Material Burning – Vietnam Chemistry Institute considers…seriously dangerous”

Low cost fuel threatening Vietnamese poor families

VietNamNet Bridge – The food and gas price increases have prompted poor people save money by using low cost fuel, including scraps of fabric, nylon, or leather. Though they can cut down the spending with the initiative, their health has been seriously damaged.

Vietnam, environment, fuel, prices, CPI, saving

Creating fuel themselves

The residents in Dong Hoa commune of Di An district in the southern province of Binh Duong all raise livestock or grow vegetables for daily use. And in front of every house, one would see some big bags of fabric scraps or the piles of waste things like a dumping ground. But these things are very precious for the local residents, because they are the main source of fuel for the residents.

Pointing to a boiling pot, Hue in Tan Hoa hamlet said that she has to cook bran for the pigs everyday. However, since the prices of fuel have been escalating continuously, she cannot make payment for the fuel. Therefore, Hue decided to use the scraps of fabric, plastics, leather and other materials to light cooking fire.

However, even the low cost fuel is also getting more and more expensive. A truck containing of three tons of waste, which was sold at VND150,000, is now selling at VND300,000. “The materials are mostly from garment companies, which include refused scrap handbags, clothes, footwear,” she said.

“We need two or three such trucks a month,” she explained, adding that the “supply” is profuse, because truck drivers prefer selling the waste to her for some dong for coffee, rather than throwing away.

“It gives a terrible smell, but we have got used to it,” she said.

Thuong, who lives next to Hue’s flat, said she also uses scraps of fabric, but these are only for cooking bran, while Thuong prepares meals with gas cooker.

“I think that the farm is a bit far from our house, so the smell would harm us,” she said.

People get poisoned step by step

Dr. Pham Thien Dung from the HCM City Labor Protection Institute said that polyester fiber exists in synthetic fabric. Therefore, if the fabric does not burn up, this would generate carbon to exist in the environment, which would cause serious diseases to human.

In the past, the owners of the brick kilns in district 9 in HCM City also used the materials to burn their kilns. They created the smoke which is considered a very toxic substance that harms people’s health. Especially, this has been listed as a very strong greenhouse gas. Scientists have affirmed that by burning the substances, people have been poisoning themselves step by step.

Environmentalists have pointed out that the owners of the waste materials have violated the laws when they did not ruin the waste, but sold to people for use. Meanwhile, the users of the fuel have lent a hand to the violators.

They simply think that by using the fuel, they can save their money. But they should be punished because they have been damaging the environment and poisoning the lives of other people.

Dr. Dang Chi Hien from the Chemistry Technology Institute, also said that the smoke generated from the burning of the waste substances are seriously dangerous because they contain high level of sulphur, Nox, sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrocarbon, ammonia and other toxic substances.

Hien said the materials must be burnt in specific furnaces at the temperature of 1000oC, or they would generate a lot of toxic substances, including dioxin.

Nhi Anh

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