Landfill kills coffee fields in Dak Lak

VietNamNet Bridge – While local people in Dak Lak province affirm that the waste burning in the nearby landfill leads to the failure of coffee crops, the provincial agencies affirm the incineration has no relation with the crop failure.

The households in Buon Ho town in Dak Lak province, the “coffee capital city” of Vietnam, have lodged a complaint to competent agencies that the existence of the landfill in the town has made them become penniless.

They said that since 2011, the coffee and pepper fields near the landfill have seen the yield decreasing dramatically by 80 percent, affirming that the continuous garbage burning has wilted the plants.

The coffee plants in the area can only exist in rainy season. The green plants which grow well thanks to the rain in rainy season and people’s care, get withered in the fumigation.

Pham Van Hong, a farmer in Ea Blang commune, said he could harvest some 2 tons of coffee from his 0.5 hectares of coffee field. However, since the day the landfill appeared, he can get some 500 kilos every year only.

Earlier this year, Hong estimated that he would harvest 300 kilos of dry pepper. However, the pepper crop has failed.

“The coffee crop failure repeatedly occurs,” Hong said. “When it rains, the coffee plants grow well. But when the garbage is burnt, the plants get denuded again.”

“No creature can survive such a heat,” he continued.

Vi Van Duong, Pham Van Hai, the other farmers in Ea Drong commune, have also affirmed that the garbage burning has killed their coffee plants. The coffee fields closer to the landfill suffer heavier losses.

Here on the landfill, garbage is piled up and burnt, generating big smoke which brings the bad odor to everywhere.

However, the local farmers said they can live together with the bad odor. The only thing they want is no more incineration. “We just want to save our coffee crops. And we don’t want to leave our homeland,” Hong said.

The water sources around the landfill have become seriously polluted due to the unreasonable landfill. As fishes cannot live in the polluted water, local farmers cannot earn their living on fish farming any more.

While local farmers blamed the garbage incineration on the failure of coffee crops, the local authorities turn a deaf ear to their complaints.

Only after many times of making complaints, have the coffee growers received the reply from the local people’s committee. Pham Phu Loc, Deputy Chair of the Buon Ho Town said the incineration has not affected the crops.

Nguyen Bach Khoa, Director of the local urban and environment management company, believes that people complain about the landfill just because they want to give back the land to the state to get compensation.

Doan Van Dung, Deputy Head of the local sub-department of natural resources and the environment, while confirming that the garbage burning causes smoke, said it is still unclear how it affects the crops.

Dung went on to say that one cannot say about the damage with just bare eyes, and that it is necessary to measure the pollution with machines.

However, the problem is that no one and no agency comes forward to measure the pollution and find out how the landfill affects the agriculture production.

Dan Viet