Little has changed in the three months since a new garbage treatment plant was opened on the island.
Three months after being put into operation the garbage treatment plant on Ly Son Island off the coast of central Quang Ngai province is proving to be not up to the task as there are insufficient numbers of garbage collectors and the treating rubbish is being done manually.
Piles of garbage are scattered around and floating on the sea for about 7 km around the island, from Thon Tay (West Village) in Vinh An commune to Thon Dong (East Village) An Hai commune. At low tide the rubbish sits on the sand and is baked by the sun, with its smell floating into residential areas.
With investment of VND30 billion ($1.33 million) and opening in June, the solid waste treatment plant was expected to handle all the rubbish on Ly Son Island. But people still throw rubbish into the sea as garbage collectors don’t come around often enough.
“Everyone was happy when the treatment plant opened but there are no garbage collectors,” said Mr. Duong Anh, who lives in An Hai commune. “We know throwing our rubbish into the sea causes environmental pollution but we have no other choice, as we don’t want rubbish lying around where we live.”
The island has three communes but just the one waste treatment plant. Piles of waste are shoveled manually into the burner and a backlog quickly forms.
According to Ms. Phan Thi Loi, Deputy Chairman of the An Vinh Commune People’s Committee, the backlog is caused by the plant not operating efficiently. It has a capacity of handling 12 tonnes of rubbish per day but currently only burns 1 to 2 tonnes.
“Garbage collectors have to bring garbage from the coastal areas about one kilometer away from the plant and then burn it,” Ms. Loi said. “In some residential areas people still take their rubbish to the beach, causing the same levels of environmental pollution as before the plant opened.”
Mr. Pham Truong Tho, Deputy Chairman of the Quang Ngai Provincial People’s Committee, said he will propose the Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) build more burners and install additional equipment at the plant. This should remove the need for rubbish to be shoveled into the burners manually and ensure all rubbish on the island is treated.
The treatment plant on Ly Son is the first in a pilot project for treatment plants on islands. It was built by VEA to handle all rubbish in the island, providing fertilizer for agricultural production and improving local hygienic conditions.
Photos: Tri Tin