The Da Hoi craft village in Tu Son Town of Bac Ninh province has been well known as one of the biggest steel production base in the north. Every year, Da Hoi provides thousands of tons of steel to the domestic market, which brings the profit of trillions of dong to local manufacturers.
| In Da Hoi craft village |
However, while local residents are getting richer, the living environment is getting poorer. People have to live in pollution which has damaged their health, while the live expectancy is getting shorter.
The forging furnaces in Da Hoi have centuries of history. In the past, Da Hoi’s craftsmen made production instruments, mostly serving the agriculture production, such as plowshares, hoes, and sickles.
Since the doimoi (renovation process) which was kicked off in 1986, realizing the increasing demand for structural steel, Da Hoi’s people has shifted to make steel, while the craft village has become a “steel industrial village”, which specializes in making steel products in a large scale.
There are now nearly 200 operational enterprises and 1000 steel production workshops which can churn out big volumes of steel to partially satisfy the domestic demand.
The production has brought a lot of money to Da Hoi’s people. A lot of “steel billionaires” have appeared, while local people never worry about food shortage. However, they are not really happy.
Dai Doan Ket’s reporters, who came to see with their own eyes, the operation of Da Hoi, said they were really surprised about the large production scale of the workshops there. Da Hoi is called a “craft village”, while in fact, it is really an industrial production base, which makes big volumes of products and creates serious environment pollution.
Da Hoi has been described as a huge steel mill with thousands of cast, rolling and galvanizing furnaces. The atmosphere here is always scorching hot with the heat coming from the furnaces. Hundreds of trucks, small and big, come in and out of the village every day to carry steel products, roaring all the day long.
Here local residents and visitors can hear a mixture of different kinds of sounds, from the engine roaring, to the deafening noise created by the steel laminating process.
The country lane has been damaged by the heavy trucks which carry steel, sometimes causing traffic jams. At the houses of local residents, one can see steel products and scrap materials, old machines and equipments at every corner. The black smoke coming from steel furnaces, the dust from the roads, metal dust, chemicals smells, all make it suffocating for people.
Especially, in the terrible heat at the production workshops, thousands of laborers were seen working hard without any protective masks or instruments.
Nguyen Duc Minh, a worker, told reporters that he always has to work hard in a seriously polluted environment; therefore, his health has been damaged.
“A lot of people have suffered from the xerophthalmia, neumonia and other serious problems. If you are just a bit careless, you would lose your hands or legs,” he said. “We many times asked the owners to provide protection instruments, but they ignore. Only the owners can get rich, while workers are still poor. The money we can make is not big enough to cover our healthcare fees.”
With more than 1000 steel workshops, every day, Da Hoi needs to use 35,000 tons of coal as fuel, 26 tons of FO oil, 18,000 cubic meters of water, tens of industrial mechanicals. Meanwhile, most of the production workshops use backward technologies and have no waste treatment system. As a result, toxic waste water and exhaust fumes are being discharged directly to the environment. The Ngu Huyen Khe River has become the place which contain waste water of the Da Hoi village.
Dai Doan Ket