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Smoky Streets of Hanoi

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/69397/the-smoky-streets-in-hanoi.html

VietNamNet Bridge – Hanoians’ habit of going to pavement food shops have been tormenting themselves. The coal stoves at the food shops have created so many smoky streets in the capital city.

Vietnam, pollution, markets, river, parks

The smoky streets begin a “new working day” after noon, when servers of the pavement food shops begin making a fire for their coal stoves. On the Thai Ha Market area alone, where there are tens of duck and dog meat shops located, tens of stoves begin operating, thus generating so many black columns of smoke.

Local residents say the black smoke is a part of their lives over the last many years. They especially feel stuffy and oppressive with the smoke on sunny days. The smoke gets thicker at 5 pm or 6 pm, when the pavement shops get most crowded and the stoves run at full capacity.

“Pavement shop” is the most suitable word to talk about the shops: everything is done on the pavement, from meat cutting, processing, roasting to serving. Of course, the coal stoves are also located on pavement, a good idea to reduce the air pollution to the shops’ owners. Especially, pavements have also been turned into the car and motorbike parking areas.

Wearing a protective mask, Nguyen Thi Ly, a local resident on Tran Quang Dieu Street, said she suffers the burnt smell everyday, because she has to pass the Thai Ha Market to go having physical exercises.

“We breathe the terrible smell every day. It is a mixture of the smell from burnt meat, fresh meat, the smell from nearby sewers and the dust from the street,” she complained.

Another resident said a lot of old people and children have caught respiratory diseases since the day the “restaurants” arose. “My friends and relatives say they hesitate to come to see me at home because they are afraid of the smoke. Meanwhile, those, who come across the area, always have to wear protective masks,” she said.

Local residents dare not leave their windows open, because they fear the wall would get smoky one day. Meanwhile, children have to stay inside instead of going out to enjoy the fresh air.

“Look at the trees nearby the pavement shops and you can see they have got black and oily with the smoke from the shops,” Thu, a housewife, said.

The “duck restaurant complex” on Lang Road is also a well-known smoky street in Hanoi. However, the local residents here may feel luckier than the ones on Thai Ha market area, because Lang road is large enough for tens of smoke columns.

However, Cu Thanh Hai, an office worker, said the situation would be terrible when there is the traffic jam. Hundreds of people would have to inspire the smoke from the motorbikes, cars and the smoke from the pavement shops at the same time.

Bach Thu Huong, who lives on Nguyen Huu Tho Street near the Linh Dam Lake, where there is the “biggest roast duck center in Hanoi,” complains that she doesn’t know what to do to escape from the pollution. “If I return home soon, I would have to bear the smoke from the pavement duck shops. But if I return home late, I would not be able to avoid the waste water and garbage thrown into the street,” she complained.

There are many more such smoky streets in Hanoi – Dai Co Viet, Hang Dau, Le Duan… Where people live, there are coal stoves and smoke.

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