Residents hide indoors, lose business as foul smell engulfs Hanoi lake

By VnExpress   October 25, 2016 | 01:58 am PT
The stench has driven customers away from lakeside cafes and restaurants.

People living in the Van Quan residential area have been enduring an almighty stench that has been coming from a local lake for more than five years.

Bach Thi Minh Hanh said she has to keep all the doors and windows shut day and night but the smell remains unbearable.

Water levels in the 2,000-square-meter Van Quan Lake have been falling over the past few days because of the hot weather, and this has exposed sulphur compounds on the lake bed that have made the foul odor even worse.

The smell of rotten eggs is particularly strong on sunny and windy days, local people have complained.

The smell from the lake has become worse over the past week, and a thick layer of blue-green algae and dead fish have appeared on its surface.

People can’t open their windows or go outside due to the stink, said Pho Duc Tuan, a senior resident.

"The smell is so strong it can give you a headache and make you want to vomit," he added.

“For the past week, there has been a disgusting smell coming from the water,” said Le Hieu, who lives about 50 meters from the lake.

He added he has taken to wearing a face mask outdoors or holding his breath to avoid the unpleasant smell.

Local shops said they can't run their businesses when the pungent smell hanging over them because nobody wants to go out.

“Things get worse when it is hot. The air circulating in the restaurant and getting up customers’ noses definitely isn’t fresh. Everyone feels like they can hardly breathe,” said Nguyen Gia Sinh, a 61-year-old security guard at a restaurant on the edge of the lake.

“We've lost business because of the horrendous smell from the lake," said Tuan, a waiter at a coffee shop. "We used to have fresh air and people loved coming here to have diner. But now, they just simply walk away after one whiff of the smell.” 

Pham Van Quan, head of a local community group, said local residents have been living with the intense odor from the lake for the past five years and this year has been particularly bad.

Quan blamed a massive amount of untreated waste water discharged directly into the lake by thousands of households for the serious pollution.










Photos by Ngoc Thanh

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