New mercury test raises red flag about Hanoi’s worsening pollution

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Hanoi's air quality has been repeatedly ranked "unhealthy." Photo credit: Le Hieu/VnExpress Concerns over the air quality in Hanoi have resurfaced after a recent test detected mercury in a rainwater sample collected in the city. Hoang Duong Tung, deputy director of Environment Department at the ministry, said a station on Nguyen Van Cu Street, Long Bien District has detected mercury in the rain. "We need equipment and technologies for further studies. Vietnam does not have the tools to test mercury in the air yet," he told Nguoi Lao Dong Newspaper on Tuesday. Tung made the comments after various media outlets reported concerns over possible "mercury pollution" in the city. He criticized the outlets for causing public panic and emphasized that his station has yet to detect "mercury pollution in the air." In their reports, local media also interviewed local scientists, who disagreed over whether the city's residents should really be worried. Dr. Tran Hong Con, a chemistry lecturer … [Read more...]

Lead & zinc waste tank breaks down in Cao Bang causes

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VietNamNet Bridge - The waste sludge may not only contains lead, but other heavy metals as well. Scientists have warned the problem would be very serious if the sludge reaches the environment. The lead & zinc waste tank in Pac Mieu Town of Bao Lam district in Cao Bang province unexpectedly broke down on January 5, releasing hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of water and waste sludge into the Gam River, having seriously polluted the river. Vu Ngoc Luu, chair of Bao Lam district, said late last week that the damages caused by the incident remain unclear. VnExpress quoting Pham Khang from the Nature & Environment Protection Association as saying that there is not only lead, but other heavy metals as well in the waste sludge, therefore, it would be very dangerous if the sludge is widely spread out in the environment. If the lead concentration found in the sludge is not high, people should scoop up the soil and throw it away. They should also be warned against using water … [Read more...]

Vietnamese shoppers swear by food test kits

A Vietnamese-styled market.

For more than two months now, Hanoian housewife Nguyen Thanh Thuy says a Russian-made food test kit has been an inseparable companion on shopping trips to local markets and supermarkets. Thuy said that the test kit, a device as small as a mobile phone with a pointed metal stick, helped her feel more confident shopping for toxic-free food materials, just after 15 to 20 seconds of testing. "With concerns about food hygiene and safety, I bought this device for VND4.5 million (US$200) through a website that said it can detect the toxic residues on vegetable, fruit, meat and fish. I have been using it to its utmost since then," she said. Thuy said that many circles of housewives in Ha Noi have been whispering about the test kits, many of whom are concerned about pesticides and food practices. Two popular options available from Russia have Vietnamese language settings and can detect toxicity in more than 60 types of food. Using the device is simple and only requires inserting a metal … [Read more...]

Shoppers swear by food test kits

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by Hong Minh For more than two months now, Hanoian housewife Nguyen Thanh Thuy says a Russian-made food test kit has been an inseparable companion on shopping trips to local markets and supermarkets. Thuy said that the test kit, a device as small as a mobile phone with a pointed metal stick, helped her feel more confident shopping for toxic-free food materials, just after 15 to 20 seconds of testing. "With concerns about food hygiene and safety, I bought this device for VND4.5 million (US$200) through a website that said it can detect the toxic residues on vegetable, fruit, meat and fish. I have been using it to its utmost since then," she said. Thuy said that many circles of housewives in Ha Noi have been whispering about the test kits, many of whom are concerned about pesticides and food practices. Two popular options available from Russia have Vietnamese language settings and can detect toxicity in more than 60 types of food. Using the device is simple and only requires … [Read more...]

Professor invents water filtration technology

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VietNamNet Bridge - Associate professor Tran Hong Con from the Hanoi University of Natural Sciences is the creator of the Hanoi dirty-water map, a unique water filtration technology and the inventor of many other water-related research works. In 1996, Con was hired by his school to test water samples from a suburb in Hanoi. More than 10 out of 30 water samples were found having arsenic concentration much higher than the permitted level. He then decided to learn more about the underground water situation in Hanoi. Later, Con created a water map of Hanoi, showing the areas contaminated with arsenic. These included eight water plants in the inner city and self-dug water wells in the suburbs. Up to 30 percent of surveyed wells were found having arsenic concentration at over 0.05 mg/l, while 50 percent were over the permitted level of 0.01 mg/l. Con realized that people only filtered underground water manually to eliminate iron, while the measures they applied could not eliminate … [Read more...]

Social News Headlines 15/5

Chinese workers in Vietnam invited to protest illegal oil drill Around 400 workers from the northern province of Thai Binh made a motorbike trip to Haiphong City, in a bid to urge Chinese workers to oppose the illegal oil rig in Vietnamese waters. As the workers' protest progressed on May 14 many others from Chinese-invested factories in Vinh Bao, Tien Lang, Kien Anh and Duong Kinh districts in Haiphong City joined in. The Vietnamese workers hoped to convince Chinese who work and live in Vietnam to ask that their government discontinue the illegal drilling in the East Sea. … [Read more...]

Toxins found in Hanoi tap water

People in outside provinces and cities have long envied Hanoians for the clean running water the capital city enjoys. The facts, however, suggest their feelings are misplaced.

VietNamNet Bridge - The cost of running water in Hanoi has been increasing sharply, while the quality of that water remains stubbornly low -toxin concentrations are far higher than permitted levels, while pipeline breaks are a regular occurrence. A series of water treatment plants have been built in recent years to satisfy the rapidly growing demand in the city. However, the plants, with 100 year-old filtration technology, do not help improve the water quality. Hanoians live in fear that they may one day suffer deadly diseases because of the unsafe water. … [Read more...]

Ha Noi tap water poses health risks

HA NOI (VNS) — Tap water samples collected from different plants in the capital city fail to meet the Health Ministry's hygiene standards and pose a public health hazard, according to the Ha Noi Preventive Medicine Centre. The centre says tests on samples taken from different water plants in Ha Noi since January this year show excessive levels of minerals and chemicals that can have serious consequences for residents. A sample from the Phap Van Water Plant showed the Permanganate index, which can cause dermatitis, exceeding the regulated level by 1.6 times, while that collected from the Ha Dong Water Plant exceeded the allowed level by 0.4-0.8 times. … [Read more...]

Water utility denies presence of arsenic

Staff check water quality at the Ha Noi Water Company. The company denies claims that water supplied by several water companies in the city contained arsenic, a toxic chemical linked to skin cancer.— VNA/VNS Photo Bui Tuong

HA NOI (VNS)— A representative of Ha Noi Water Company has denied claims that water supplied by several water companies in the city has been contaminated with arsenic, a toxic chemical linked to skin cancer. Nguyen Nhu Hai, General Director of the Ha Noi Water Company, said there was no evidence to substantiate the allegations. "We examine the quality of water regularly and figures on the chemicals in the water are checked every day in all of these facilities. The level of arsenic is tested every six months," said Hai. "Thus, it can be affirmed that water supplied by branches managed by Ha Noi Water Company meets the Ministry of Health's requirements. People do not have to be worried about using the water," he added. Hai also said that water filters used improperly could filter out helpful minerals and affect the mineral compilation of the water. He made the statement after a study carried out last year by a group of Vietnamese scientists with researchers from Columbia … [Read more...]

Farmers told to use new technologies to treat polluted water in flood areas

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VietNamNet Bridge - A lot of advanced technologies have been invented to help sterilize polluted water. However, Vietnamese farmers in the flood stricken areas still cannot approach the technologies. According to Dr. Tran Hong Con from the Hanoi University for Natural Sciences, a member of the Hanoi National University, in floods, sanitation works, sewers, fields and livestock farms get submerged in water, while the waste from different sources drifts with the current, which makes the water seriously polluted. Therefore, treating the polluted water to get clean water for daily use is the urgent task people have to do after the floods. In order to have clean water for daily use in case the floods strike down, people have been sterilizing polluted water with alum and Chloramine B, the method they have been applying over the last many years. At first, people pour alum into water to clean it (the sediments will settle down). After that the cleaned water will be filtered through … [Read more...]

25 illegal sand mining vessels, trucks seized in central Vietnam

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Armed police in central Vietnam seized twenty-five illegal sand mining boats and dump trucks on Thursday in a raid along a river where illicit sand quarrying is rampant. A police car arrived at the river section spanning Tan Ky District's Tan An Commune when boats and machines were being used to extract sand from the water. Officers rushed towards the bank with gun stocks rattling and shouted to order five boats which were mining sand in the middle of the river to stop their prohibited exploitation. The navigators immediately steered their vessels away in all directions in an attemtp to flee from the officers. A police boat then appeared and gave a chase with help from groups of police officers along the river banks. Two ships were intercepted and another three under the police's control when they were traveling upstream in nearby Tan Huong Commune after an hour of chasing. Three of the five navigators had manged to escape, though. Another group of police came in two cars … [Read more...]

Dirty toys attack schools

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VietNamNet Bridge - Despite the bans released by the Hanoi Education and Training Department, toxic and anti-education toys still have been brought to general schools. The city's education department has released a strange document, saying that Hanoi's students must not buy "stink bomb." However, the dangerous toys still have been sold at all the toy shops in Hanoi, while students all have got familiar to the toy sourced from China. The owner of Mai Ngan Toy Shop on Nguyen Khuyen Street affirmed that she has all the toy products now favored by children and students. However, when asked about Vietnamese toys, she said that 99 percent of the products here are from China. The saleswoman showed customers a product called "stink bomb," saying that this is the most favorite toy now in Hanoi, especially popular to boys. "It's dirty cheap, just VND2,000 for a pack. This is a kind of "secret weapon" which helps the boys increase their strength in front of the rivals," she advertised … [Read more...]

Making the To Lich River’s polluted water drinkable, why not?

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The Hanoitimes - A group of scientists from the Hanoi University of Natural Resources has invented a technology allowing filtering polluted water to get drinkable water. However, people still keep doubts about the startling information. On December 24 afternoon, o­n the riverside of the To Lich River in Hanoi, the river which has been well known to everybody with its high pollution level, Dr. Tran Hong Con from the university and his associates showed to the public how they could filter the polluted water to get drinkable water with NanoSky mineral filter. The technology product is for the first time 100% made in Vietnam. In the witness of scientists and local reporters, Dr Con took five liters from the To Lich River - called as the "dead river" by Hanoians, and poured it into NanoSky. The water looked black and gave a bad odor. Especially, according to Con, the water contained many kinds of toxic heavy metals with the concentrations at ten times higher than the allowed … [Read more...]

Positive test results of Chinese-made bras

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Test results of Chinese-made bras revealed Polystyrene, an aromatic polymer material and mineral seal oil in the suspiciously embedded pills and liquid inside the bra cups which market management authorities had seized recently after customers complained of itchiness after wearing them. Large quantities of Chinese-made bras are available in the local market and recently some customers had found strange pills and liquid packets embedded in the bra cups that seemingly caused itchiness. Market management departments took many of these bras from markets across the country for testing. … [Read more...]

Vietnam halts physicist’s treatment for HFMD

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Vietnam health ministry has asked a hospital in Ninh Thuan Province to stop using a treatment for hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) initiated by a physicist until scientific assessments can be made, VnExpress reported Tuesday. Nguyen Van Khai, who has used a chemical substance to treat hand-foot-mouth disease in the central province of Ninh Thuan. … [Read more...]

Warnings of danger given to people using well water

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The water monitoring results show that the underground water resources have been decreasing in many places. Meanwhile, the underground water has also got infected with ammonium and arsenic, which is a big threat to local residents who cannot access the national water supply system. According to Dr Nguyen Thi Ha from the Center of Water Resource Monitoring and Forecasting under the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE), in the Northern Delta, the water levels at some monitored places, including Mai Dich, Cau Giay in Hanoi, have decreased nearly to the allowed limits. In some other areas of Hai Hau, Truc Ninh, Nam Dinh, Quynh Phu and Thai Binh, the decreased water levels are still within the safety line. However, scientists have warned that the aquifer has complicated hydrogeological conditions; therefore, it is necessary to apply necessary measures to prevent the saltwater intrusion caused by the water exploitation. The monitoring results showed that in the dry … [Read more...]

Art & Entertainment News 7/5

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Artwork exhibition focuses on sea and naval forces Forty works of sculpture, paintings, graphics and photography, featuring the sea and navy soldiers are on display in Ha Noi to celebrate the Viet Nam People's Navy Force's 60th anniversary. Twenty-eight lecturers of the Viet Nam Fine Arts University are participating in the exhibition, entitled Bien, Dao To Quoc va Nguoi Chien Sy Hai Quan (Country's Sea, Islands and Navy Soldiers), to express their love for the sea and islands and admiration for navy sailors, through various materials such as oil-on-canvas, acrylic, natural colours and water colours, as well as metal composites and mixed materials. "The artworks not only depict many beautiful and vivid images of the sea, islands and navy soldiers, but also show the artists' love, responsibilities and belief in the force," Colonel Mai Trong Dinh, an official from the force, said. "The artists have focused on the life and feelings of the sailors working in Truong Sa (Spratly) … [Read more...]

Social News 27/12

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Sleeper bus collides with container truck, injures 6 Some six passengers were injured when their sleeper bus collided with a container truck early today on the My Phuoc – Tan Van Expressway in the southern Binh Duong Province's Hiep Thanh Ward. The accident occurred while the sleeper bus, carrying 19 passengers, was travelling from HCM City to Binh Duong. The cause of the accident, which left the bus in a wrecked state, remains unknown. The injured were treated at the Binh Duong General Hospital. Local police are investigating the case. Unions prepare Tet support for workers Trade unions in southern localities will support workers with gifts and bus tickets during Tet, which falls in the middle of February this year. In Binh Duong Province, the provincial Federation of Labour planned to give free bus tickets to 1,220 workers from central and northern provinces to travel home for the holiday. The federation is giving 10 per cent more workers tickets than last year. The … [Read more...]

Workshop talks decentralised wastewater treatment

Domestic and foreign experts gathered at a workshop in Hanoi on December 25 to share experience in applying the decentralised wastewater treatment model in Vietnam. They were updated with policies facilitating the use of the model in the region, and market opportunities for providers of hygiene services in Southeast Asia. They also learnt about the latest regulations on wastewater management, and decentralised wastewater treatment systems currently in use in several localities. Representatives from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and the UN Economic and Social Commission for the Asia-Pacific praised the initiatives that Vietnam put forth at the event, saying that they will be helpful not only for the design of the country’s own strategy on waste management but also for other countries in the region. The event was co-hosted by the Vietnam Association of Conservation of Nature and Environment and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s … [Read more...]

Heritage trees die after they were glorified

The heritage trees at Voi Phuc Temple (Photo taken by VACNE in 2010).

VietNamNet Bridge - The nine century-old trees, glorified as "heritage trees" at the Voi Phuc Temple now have to struggle with the insects. The glorying and protection of heritage trees was for the first time put forward at the meetings of environment and culture organizations in 2010. VACNE (the Vietnam Association of Conservation of Nature and Environment) then initiated the recognition of heritage trees on the occasion of the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long - Hanoi City. Professor Dr. of Science Dang Huy Huynh, Deputy Chair of VACNE, emphasized that heritage trees not only simply mean "ancient trees," but they are also the witnesses of the nation's culture, history which need to be glorified and protected. VACNE then set up a council in charge of analyzing scientific indexes trees (age, trunk diameter, cultural and historical values…). Right after the association made public the criteria for the recognition of heritage trees, it received the documents from the Voi Phuc … [Read more...]