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September 20, 2021, 2:50 am

Villagers in “pesticide land” struggle with cancer

(10:28:58 AM 09/01/2014)
( - There are the “cancer villages” in Ha Tinh province – the “pesticide land” in the central region.

Tran Thi Thao points to the place where the pesticide trench is located.


The poor Trung Trinh village in Viet Xuyen commune of Thach Ha district plunged into mourning on the last days of 2013, when the villagers recently attended a funeral of one more man who died of cancer.


Twenty people in the same village have died over the last five years because of cancer diseases.


Tran Thi Thao, whose husband has died of stomach cancer, said all the families nearby have members dying of cancer. Especially, some families have 2-3 members dying of the same diseases.


Pointing to the next house, Thao said: “This is the house of Duong Hong Long. He is terminally ill with throat cancer.”


Thao, in replying to the reporters’ surprise, said: “There is a pesticide trench next to his house. Long’s parents also died before of cancer diseases.”


“The water wells of a lot of families here have been polluted. You may sense the smell of pesticide,” she continued.


Nguyen Thi Ly proves to be the most unluckiest woman in the village. Her husband has just died, leaving two children suffering from cerebral palsy. Some years ago, Ly’s husband’s parents also died of cancer.


“My husband had been very strong until one day he discovered bleeding in the mouth,” Ly said. “We then went to Hanoi to have medical examination and we were told that he suffered cancer. He died one year later.”


Duong Hong Canh, a local resident, also complained that he cannot bear the odor from pesticide which has been rounding up the village.


“The smell of pesticide exists in all water wells here. Sometimes the water looks as white as milk,” he said.


“We are afraid of going to see doctor. What will happen if we are told that we bear cancer diseases?” Canh said. “We have been living in fear that cancer would attack us one day.”


According to Pham Quang Hoi, Chair of Viet Xuyen Commune, the locality has become the place for storing plant protection chemicals (DDT, 666) since 1965. During a battle, the pesticide storehouse was damaged, because of which a big volume of pesticide absorbed into the earth.


Hoi said in the past, due to the lack of knowledge, local people used the soil in the pesticide storehouse area for planting crops. Some others even used the water in the area to wash hair because they thought this could help treat typhus.


While affirming that pesticide is the origin of the dangerous diseases, Hoi said in 2007, the provincial environment department’s experts came to the site to make survey and advised people not to use the water and plant crops there. However, no useful solution has been recommended so far.


Just one month ago, local newspapers reported about another “cancer village” in Ha Tinh – Chien Thang Village, Vinh Loc Commune of Can Loc district which is also located near a big pesticide trench.


Tran Xuan Binh, Chair of the Vinh Loc commune’s Fatherland Front, said 23 people in Chien Thang have died of cancer, while the other two are struggling with the diseases.


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