Lingering in southern Saigon, a nightmare that stinks

By VnExpress   October 1, 2016 | 10:09 am PT
Lingering in southern Saigon, a nightmare that stinks
A view of Da Phuoc landfill site. City authorities have recently identified the site as the source of an unbearable odor that has attacked the senses of thousands of people in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Nguyen
An overpowering smell keeps attacking the senses of thousands of people in Ho Chi Minh City, with no end in sight.

It has been their worst nightmare, one they are doomed to relive again and again.

Over the past few months, many people in the southern districts of Ho Chi Minh City have put up with the unbearable odor, which is strongest in residential areas such as Phu My Hung, My Khanh and Phu My.

They are worried that whatever is causing the smell may be affecting their health.

“We are getting sick both physically and mentally from the smell,” said Hong Ha, a resident in one of the affected areas.

Others said the stench is particularly strong from midnight until morning and things get worse during the rainy season between July and September. Just like the saying, it stinks to high heaven.

Locals said the odor is so bad they are left with only two options: move home or keep breathing in.

“My family can hardly sleep," said My Thanh in Phu Gia residential area. "We can’t open the windows because the strong smell will get into the house and stay for up to two hours.” 

Local authorities have recently identified the Da Phuoc landfill site as the source of the odor. They plan to move waste disposal facilities out of the inner city to a new site that is under construction in Long An Province, about 60 kilometers southwest of Ho Chi Minh City.

Trinh Vinh, a resident in Phu Hoang Gia residential area, said he hopes the problem will be resolved quickly as thousands of lives have been turned upside down.

“I'm thinking of leaving. The smell is making us sick,” he said.

Another resident, Hong Ha, said the smell has been around for so long but “no one has been held accountable.”

“This has been going on for many years and thousands of people have been affected. We want to talk with the operator of Da Phuoc,” she continued.

The Da Phuoc landfill, which is one of the city’s two major landfill sites, is located south of the city on an area of 128 hectares (316 acres).

Vietnam Waste Solution Inc., which owns and runs the landfill, said it is working diligently to control the odor emanating from the landfill.

The volume of waste in the city has been rising at a very fast pace. The city discharges around 8,000 tons of waste a day and currently buries 75 percent of it, a method officials have described as “temporary”.

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