VietNamNet Bridge – Hundreds of households on the hill base in Yen Thang Commune of Thanh Hoa province, where Chinese are exploiting ore–have been struggling with the environment pollution and diseases.
Local people in Yen Thang commune of Lang Chanh district cannot understand why local people have allowed many people to dig the earth to explore ore. They cannot see any benefits from the mining, but it is obvious that they now have to live in the fear caused by the environment pollution.
The Van Trong and Van Ngoai hamlets of Yen Thang commune have been called by local people as the “thon tho phi” (bandit hamlet) or “thon chet” (death hamlet). “Bandit” describes the Chinese workers who are exploiting ore there. The exploitation has caused the environment pollution, thus gradually poisoning people. Therefore, the locality is also called the death hamlet.
An open case mining site can be seen on a hill in Van Trong hamlet. The site, covering an area of 5,000 square meters, is surrounded by the sign boards preventing strange people from entering. On the site, machines and people have been working uninterruptedly.
The soil, after it is dug, is cleaned with water to sort out the ore, which is then piled up to be carried away by trucks. The Ngam stream has been blocked for the exploiters to get water to clean ore. Meanwhile, the aquaculture ponds and irrigation sites have been leased to Chinese to serve as the places for discharge waste water.
Bich and the other two families in Van Trong hamlet in Yen Thang commune were so happy when they can lease the 1,000 square meter fish pond for VND100 million a year. As such, each of the family can earn VND3-4 million a month, the sum of money which they cannot earn with their fish farming.
However, the sum of money proves to be too modest if compared with what the ore exploitation has brought to the land area. The ponds and lakes which have become the places containing waste water from the ore exploitation site, has turned yellowed, while trees nearby have withered. Since the day the open cast mine was opened, local people have continuously witnessed poor crops, and they fear the hunger would come one day.
In the past, the water resources there provided enough water for the irrigation. However, the rice fields there have become exhausted because of no water for watering, since the water has been taken away by the ore exploiters.
“We have been living in fear that one day, the embankment of the waste water ponds gets broken and the waste water would overflow to our gardens and fields,” a local resident, representing 200 local households, said.
Pointing to the opposite road, the man said: “The road has just been built which costs hundreds of billions of dong. But it has been crushed completely already.”
The local people don’t know much about the exploiters, but they said they have heard that the mining has been licensed by the local authorities.
However, the local authorities, when asked about the ore exploitation, could not give detailed information about the cases.
Le Tien Lam, Chair of the Lang Chanh district People’s Committee, when meeting journalists, said it was true that the ore exploitation was being carried out which has caused the environment pollution. But he said he does not have much information about the exploitation because he has just taken the office.