Recycling project falls flat in HCM City

HCM CITY — A pilot project on recycling household rubbish in HCM City has failed due to poor implementation and a lack of funds.

The project, which aimed to encourage residents to separate their household rubbish for recycling, was launched in 2004 in districts 1, 4, 5, 6, 10 and Cu Chi District.

Plans to provide residents with two rubbish bins, one for organic waste that can be used as compost and one for rubbish made from materials that can be recycled such as paper and plastic, were only implemented in District 6.

Residents in all the other districts set to benefit from the pilot project never received the rubbish bins, with authorities claiming that they didn’t have enough funds to carry out the project.

Tran Van Danh, director of the Public Utility Co Ltd which implemented the project in District 6, said the district began to separate household rubbish in 2006 in nine of the district’s 14 wards with funds of more than VND6 billion (US$285,000) from the municipal budget.

Most of the district’s residents responded positively to the project, but some of them did not separate their rubbish, said Danh.

“I think to make the project successful, we need four factors: equipment, regulations, dissemination and a rubbish treatment facility,” he said.

Municipal authorities have not issued regulations on separating rubbish and residents who did not recycle rubbish were not fined.

“The most factor in this project is separating rubbish for recycling, however, the enterprises responsible for collecting rubbish did not recycle residents’ rubbish,” said Danh.

Initial funds for the project were set at about VND50 billion ($2.5 million) to cover rubbish collection and work on raising public awareness on the project.

Municipal authorities tried to get the project back on track last year by requiring each district to take more control over rubbish recycling in their own localities. Districts were also asked to find funds for the project.

“However, district budgets are modest and I think they don’t have enough money to carry out the project,” said Danh. “Municipal authorities should supply more funds for districts to encourage them to recycle rubbish.”

Huynh Kim Phat, deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said the city also lacked additional funds for the project.

“Districts can call for help from enterprises or organisations,” he said.

Everyday the city produces more than 6,000 tonnes of rubbish, according to statistics from the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Most of the rubbish is buried at rubbish dumps. However, two rubbish dumps are causing severe pollution in HCM City’s Tan Binh District.

A large rubbish dump at the corner of Truong Chinh and Pham Van Bach streets and a smaller facility on the corner of Quang Trung and Truong Chinh streets are seriously affecting the health of more than 1,000 poor families.

Resident Huynh Van Phuoc said the rubbish has resulted in a bad stench, and residents also have to put up with noisy rubbish trucks rumbling throughout the night.

“Because of the loud noise at 2am every day, we can hardly sleep,” said Phuoc.

The rubbish, often piled up to as high as 10 metres, also pollutes ground water.

Diseases are widespread, with many residents suffering from skin and digestive diseases, while many older residents suffer from bronchitis. — VNS



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