Thu. May 19th, 2022

VietNamNet Bridge – 1,000 cancer-related deaths have been reported in one district in the last six years. In one small town, 115 out of 562 deaths (21 percent) were due to cancer.

These deaths took place in the Kinh Mon District of Hai Duong Province, where there are tens of cement plants, a series of stone exploitation sites and coal traders.

Foreseeable deaths

Kinh Mon District, cancer

Dao Thi Huynh, the owner of a tea shop in Minh Tan, a dusty town, complained that she earnsonly a few tens of thousands of dong a day from the shop. That is enough for her to have two meals a day, but not enough to have healthcare services.

“I have to breathe dust all day. I am afraid that I may have cancer. What happens if I become sick and I don’t have money for treatment?” she asked.

Phung Van Qua, an old man in Minh Tan town, has witnessed the deaths of five family members over the last several years. Of these, two sons died at the young ages of 40 and 45.

A report of the Minh Tan town’s healthcare center disclosed that 562 people died in the years from 2003 to early 2014. Of these, 115 deaths were from cancer.

Minh Tan town is not alone in its predicament. The communes of Duy Tan, Hiep Son, Thai Thinh and That Hung are also in the same situation.

Who is poisoning the environment?

Thieu of Minh Tan’s healthcare center said no one can answer the question of who or what is responsible. Locals blame the high percentage of cancer-ridden people on the polluted environment, caused by tens of industrial production workshops in the locality. The workshops deny this, while competent agencies have stayed silent.

“We reported the abnormally high number of cancer cases to the district’s healthcare center two years ago. However, there has been no reply so far,” said Thieu.

Eight out of the 11 cement plants in the district still operate with the backward blast-furnace technology that is a known cause of environmental pollution. Only three cement plants apply modern technology which allows them to minimize their emissions.

However, cement plants are not the only polluters in the district. There are tens of stone exploiters  and coal traders which can also be the culprits that poison the environment.  

Saving yourselves before the state does

Locals have largely realized that they should save themselves before waiting for local officials and competent agencies to take action. Many of them have left their home village to escape the pollutants.

Nguyen Thi Do’s husband, a worker at the Duy Tan cement plant, died of lung cancer. When Do discovered that she herself has kidney cancer, she left for Quang Ninh, her mother’s village, with her two children.

“I have tried to sell the house in Kinh Mon, but no one wants to buy it,” she said. “People may be afraid of the ‘cancer land’”.

Many others have also left their home village with no hope of returning one day. The remaining people struggle with the pollution everyday and only hope and pray that it doesn’t one day claim their lives.

Phap Luat

By vivian