Many residents in northern Thai Binh Province have found spraying pesticide on local rice fields a way of getting additional income, regardless of protective working clothes shortage and health risks.
THAI BINH —
|A farmer in Thai Binh Province's Vu Thu District sprays pesticide to protect his crop. Improper protective equipment may pose high risks of chemical poisoning to farmers. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung |
In Vu Thu, Dong Hung, Hung Ha and Kien Xuong districts, many people, mostly women, carry plastic pesticide pots to apply the substance to the crop. The substance dust from sprayers spread and quickly cover the air. Everyone wears only palm-leaf conical hats, clothing masks and worn-out gloves.
Tran Thi My in Vu Thu District's Viet Thuan Commune said she had been hired to spray pesticide for villagers for three years. She was paid between VND70,000-100,000 (US$3.5-5) per sao (360 sq.m) for each hour of work. On busy days, she could earn about VND300,000 ($15).
The job can bring income for local residents, mostly living in poverty, but it caused skin diseases and other health problems.
Pham Thi Lieu in Hung Ha District's Diep Nong Commune said her hands were stiff, painful and hard to move after a while of spraying the substance. Red rashes were seen on her hands.
"I have gone to the doctor many times, but it's useless," she said.
Ha Thi Dung, aged 52, in Kien Xuong District's Binh Dinh Commune said she fell ill while spraying the chemical three years ago. The whole chemical pot poured onto her body. This has caused itchy rashes for her since then.
Most said they were reluctant to take the job to earn their living. They usually took lemonade to the fields to first-aid themselves when needed, but few got safe working clothes as required.
Dr Nguyen Thi Thuy, deputy director of the provincial General Hospital, said the hospital usually received many patients poisoned by the pesticide this time of the year as they accidentally poured the chemical onto their bodies.
Most were hospitalised with skin diseases, respiratory and digestive problems, vomiting and physical depression, Thuy said.
"They know little about the poison levels of the chemical and seldom wear safe working clothes," she said.
Thuy said the hospital always reminded patients of wearing labour clothes when they were at work and disseminated about the damages of the chemical.
"A clothing mask or a pair of clothing gloves makes no effect on preventing the poisonous substance from absorbing into workers' bodies and causing health damage," she said.
Thai Binh is among five provinces growing rice in the Song Hong (Red River) Delta. The total area of rice fields is 86,120 ha, bringing the output to over one million tonnes per year. — VNS