Schools get air conditioners to escape dust from Long Thanh airport construction

By Phuoc Tuan   April 9, 2023 | 09:13 pm PT
Schools get air conditioners to escape dust from Long Thanh airport construction
A janitor uses a vacuum cleaner at Binh Son Elementary School in Long Thanh District of Dong Nai Province, around one km from Long Thanh airport construction site, March 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
The investor in the Long Thanh Airport project will fund the installation of air conditioners at schools that have been affected by dust from the construction site.

The investor, Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), a joint-stock company with 95.4% state-owned shares, will spend VND300 million (US$12,840) to install air conditioners at schools near the construction site of the airport in Long Thanh District of Dong Nai Province, a neighbor of Ho Chi Minh City.

As announced Sunday by the district authorities, after installing the air conditioners, schools will close all windows and doors, which will shield students and teachers from the dust.

It is not clear how many schools will get air conditioners but preschools, elementary, middle schools and high schools in several communes of the district will all get air conditioners.

ACV will also pay a certain sum to compensate households that have been affected by the dust, but the sum is yet to be made public.

As the southern region is in the peak of the dry season, winds have carried dust from the project as far as 10 kilometers, affecting tens of thousands of families in Dong Nai.

In many cases, houses and trees are covered in a layer of red dust and many people have to use nets or plastic sheets to shield their houses.

Dong Nai authorities and the Ministry of Transport last month requested ACV to solve the problem. An inspection team from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment concluded that dust was dispersed because workers had failed to water the entire site adequately during the process of leveling the ground on an area of more than 2,500 hectares.

The team also cited the weather in the south as one of the reasons for the problem.

To cope with the dust, 10 reservoirs with capacity of 1,200 cubic meters were built last week to prevent dust at the construction site. The reservoirs will provide water, which will be pumped from wells, for 60 trucks, including two fire trucks, to spray the ground and keep the dust down.

The Long Thanh Airport project, spanning 5,000 ha, has an expected investment capital of around VND336.63 trillion ($14.3 billion).

The first phase of the project, which started in 2021, includes construction of a runway, terminal and accompanying infrastructure, with a capacity for 25 million visitors a year.

Once put into operation, it will replace HCMC's Tan Son Nhat International Airport as Vietnam's largest.

Residents besieged by dust storms from construction of Vietnam's largest airport, March 2023. Video by VnExpress/Vu Thinh, Phuoc Tuan

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