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Hundreds protest against polluting steel factories in central Vietnam

Hundreds of people have been protesting outside two factories in Da Nang since Monday night demanding authorities fulfill their promise to relocate people from the polluted area.

An open dump site for slag next to two steel factories in Da Nang. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong

By Reporters

Danang, February 28, 2018

Vietnam Express

‘You must either move the plants, or move us.’

Hundreds of people have been protesting outside two factories in Da Nang since Monday night demanding authorities fulfill their promise to relocate people from the polluted area.

“We have to live with constant stinking and dusty air, and it’s making us sick,” Nguyen Van Tien, a 32-year-old local, said, prompting his neighbors to burst out with similar complaints.

The people of Van Duong 2 Village in Hoa Vang District said they have been living with pollution from the Dana Y and Dana Uc steel factories for more than 10 years, even though authorities had promised to relocate them.

Many villagers now suffer from cancer and respiratory diseases which they blame on air and water pollution from the plants. They said the discharge from the plants, including an open landfill where hundreds of tons of slag are dumped at a time, has also damaged their crops.

“You must either move the plants, or move us,” said Phan Muoi, a local.

People gather to protest two polluting steel factories in Da Nang on Tuesday. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Truong

People gather to protest against two polluting steel factories in Da Nang on Tuesday. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Truong

Ho Ky Minh, vice chairman of Da Nang, met with the protestors on Tuesday but could not offer a solution. “I’m not prepared,” he said, before asking for another day.

The residents put up a similar protest in December 2016, and that only ended when the city’s government suspended manufacturing at the plants and put forward the relocation plan.

At a meeting with local officials two months ago, Da Nang’s Party chief Truong Quang Nghia said the steel factories “were destroying the area with their noise and dust.”

Nghia had asked officials to “solve the problem once and for all,” saying that steel development is not a priority for the city.

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