Environment » Solid Waste

September 19, 2020, 7:32 am

The dull life in the “lead village”

(14:26:44 PM 04/01/2014)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - Being famous as the “lead recycling metropolis” in the north, Dong Mai village in Van Lam district of Hung Yen province is the place where rice is mixed with lead and blood is mixed with lead because of the existence of lead everywhere.


Dong Mai village these days looks gloomy not only because of the winter leaden sky, but also because of the grey color of lead, the black color of coal and the shells of old batteries scattered everywhere.


Phung Van Thanh, a local resident who led a group of reporters visiting the village, repeatedly complained: “It is so suffocating here.”


According to Thanh, Dong Mai’s people in the past lived on copper casting. However, since 1970s, modern people have been focusing on recycling lead from old batteries.


Old batteries are collected by Dong Mai people from all over the country and carried to the village. After the lead sheets are taken away from the batteries, they are put into kilns to remove impurities from them and make lead ingots. After that, the “finished products” would be sold for money.


The acid left in the old batteries would be discharged directly to the local sewers, ponds or lakes. The white plastic shells of the batteries would be ground up and sold to recycling workshops, while the black plastic shells would be thrown away.


The lead processing produces a big volume of smoke, coal and lead dust and waste, which all go directly into the environment without any treatment.


The transportation of lead products and lead infected waste with rudimentary vehicles has also “helped” spread out the toxicity into the air.


Analysts have every reason to say that there in the village, people eat rice mixed with lead, which then generates the lead infected blood. The workers at the lead processing workshops did not wear any safety working clothing. They go to the workshops in normal clothes and then come back home in the same clothes, thus bringing lead from the workshops to their homes.


Scientists have many times rung the alarm bell over the quality of the local people’s lives. Especially, they said lead has been “dying the children’s lives in black.”


The lead processing workshops have not only harming people’s health, but also poisoned the water sources and killed the flora and fauna systems.


A survey has found that the lead content in the water at ponds, lakes and water wells was measured at 0.77 mg per one liter of water, much higher than the allowed level at 0.05 mg per one liter.


The lead infected ponds and lakes have created lead-infected plans. Scientists found that every kilo of duckweed at the village’s pond contained 430 mg of lead, while every kilo of rau muong (a popular kind of vegetable in Vietnam) contained 168-430 mg.


A test conducted by the Ministry of Health and the US Washington University on 109 children, less than 10 years old, in Dong Mai village, found the high concentration of lead in 100 percent of the blood samples.


Especially, 15 children were found as having the blood content at a dangerous level of 65 ug/dl, 17 children at alarming level (45- 65 ug/dl)


Cong Thuong

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