‘Unbearable’: Vietnam airport construction dust blankets houses, schools

Dong Nai, Vietnam: A thick layer of dust from the construction of Vietnam’s huge airport has covered the neighborhood for months, staining everything from trees to homes to student uniforms a sickening red.

Located 40 km from Ho Chi Minh City, the southern business hub, the four-runway Long Thanh Airport will become the country’s largest and is expected to handle 100 million passengers and 5 million tonnes of cargo per year when completed.

But since extensive construction began earlier this year, residents 10km away from the site have been living under a cloud of heavy dust, angering health fears and chaos in their lives.

“It was unbearable. The red dust is everywhere in our community,” said Tran Minh Hoang, who lives in Binh Son District, Dong Nai Province.

Hoang, 59, starts spraying the front yard with a hose every day to get rid of the filth, but the dust is so bad that he has wrapped the entire front of the house in a fine nylon mesh.

“It helped a little,” he told AFP.

His wife, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Hanh, said she kept her one-year-old grandson almost completely indoors for months.

“We cannot force him to wear a face mask, so we recommend limiting his outdoor time,” said Hanh.

The local school yard could be seen covered in a thick layer of dust, and photos in the state media showed textbooks, classrooms and children’s clothing turned red after school.

Nguyen Van Chanh, 70, said chairs, bowls, plates and laundry in her kitchen were covered.

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