A village in Ninh Thuan province has been inundated with toxic aerosols released from a wheat flour processing factory over the past three-years, with residents suffering many chronic ailments.
Thousands of residents in Tan My village in Ninh Son district have been putting up with the foul air since the Ninh Thuan Agricultural Produce Processing Co., Ltd’s factory became operational in 2003.
The factory, obviously lacking an adequate waste treatment system, sets aside several hectares of lidless reservoirs to store the industrial waste, as much as 1,000 cubic metres per day.
Huynh Thi Anh, the village executive head said the factory emitted a vomit-inducing smell that caused many locals to suffer chronic headaches, runny, stuffy noses and sinusitis.
A local policeman dubbed the village as “nasal congestion village.”
Seventy-two-year-old Tran Thi Hang, a local resident, said through a congested nose that no scientist was required to test the village’s extreme pollution.
“Thirty minutes here will tell you all…a putrid smell that dissipates appetites and makes us unable to sleep”, the elderly woman said.
Another local complained a slight breeze carrying the stench would make her children vomit during meals.
An official from the provincial Department for Natural Resources and Environment who wished for anonymity said the company released hazardous acid hydrogen cyanide (HCN), which was required in the starch manufacturing process.
It also discharges such toxic gases as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitric oxide (NO), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and methyl mercaptan, he added.
Extended periods inhaling these gases cause headaches, coughing, digestive disorders and bronchitis.
Alarmingly, the wastes-storing reservoirs are only 200m from the Tan My River, a water source for the province’s Phan Rang-Thap Cham capital city.
The dong 8.3 billion (nearly US$520,000) factory turned out over 1,100 tonnes of starch in 2003.