Hanoi trash collectors raise stench over salary delay

By Pham Tuan, Huu Tuan   November 19, 2020 | 11:09 pm PT
Hanoi trash collectors raise stench over salary delay
Trash spills out onto a street of Yen Phu Ward in Tay Ho District, Hanoi, November 19, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Tuan.
During a week-long strike, garbage has been left to stack up in Tay Ho and Nam Tu Liem districts of Hanoi, disrupting daily life and causing pollution.

On some streets of Tay Ho District, trash lay stacked as high as a meter, stretching hundreds of meters as of Thursday. Locals, left with little resort, have had to cover up their household garbage or hire private collectors. Most simply clench their noses when bypassing the heaps of trash.

Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, 46, said the trash lining her street has not been collected for a week.

"Such a beautiful street, yet so much trash. It’s ugly and polluting. Before, these kinds of incidents would only last one or two days, but now an entire week has passed with no collectors in sight," she lamented.

In Nam Tu Liem District, dozens of trash-filled carts inundate a collection point right opposite an apartment complex on Tran Huu Duc Street.

While removal slowly recommenced Wednesday night, leakage from overloaded carts have left a stench.

According to a trash collector operating on Tran Huu Duc, around six tons of garbage remains to be processed.

"We work for a company called Minh Quan, which has delayed our payment," the collector said, explaining the reason behind the tardy garbage removal.

Workers take away trash in carts in Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi, November 19, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Tuan.

Trash collectors empty carts in Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi, November 19, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Tuan.

Hoang Xuan Sang, chairman of Yen Phu Ward People’s Committee in Tay Ho, said the unit responsible for collecting trash in the area is Minh Quan High Technology Development and Investment. But the firm has failed to pay its staff on time, leading to strikes and uncollected garbage, he added.

Ho Trong Thang, chairman of Cau Dien Ward People's Committee in Nam Tu Liem, said Minh Quan frequently collects large amounts of trash sourced from other locations on Tran Huu Duc before processing. This has greatly upset local residents, he noted.

"The ward has requested the firm to cease such activity and would alert the district environment police should the matter remain unresolved," Thang stated.

Minh Quan’s contract to process trash in Cau Dien will expire by the end of December, Thang said, mentioning Nam Tu Liem authorities are searching for new units to take its place following poor service.

Hanoi currently produces around 6,500 tons of trash each day, 89 percent of which is buried while the rest is burned.

Vietnam increased its production of domestic solid waste by 46 percent from 2010 to 2019, according to a recent national report on solid waste management by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The majority of such waste was produced in urban areas, the report noted.

Waste burial remains the dominant method for waste disposal, which takes up space and may hurt the surrounding environment, the report stressed.

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