HCM City offers help to private garbage collectors hinh anh 1HCM City is helping private garbage collectors improve their services (Photo: sggp.org.vn)

- As the amount of rubbish continues to rise each year, Ho Chi Minh City authorities are exploring ways to improve the services of the thousands of private garbage collectors operating in the city.

In an effort to improve their capabilities, the city is encouraging private garbage collectors to join co-operatives or public garbage-collection companies. As an alternative, they could also set up their own legal businesses. 

Authorities have also issued a suggested pricing range for garbage collection and the types of vehicles that should be used for the task.

The city is also considering offering low-interest loans to private collectors so that they can afford new equipment.

Around 60 percent of garbage collection is done by private trash collectors and the rest by public service companies in the city, according to the non governmental organisation Environmental Development Action in the Third World (ENDA) Vietnam.

A survey by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment found that the public HCM City Urban Environment Company and 22 other public service companies have a total of about 3,500 garbage collection vehicles operating in the city centre and at public construction works.

In addition, there are 80 private companies, 12 co-operative groups, two trash-collecting unions and nearly 2,200 private garbage-collecting teams, with about 2,200 simple collection vehicles.

However, many of the private collectors use rickshaws, motorbike wagons or self-made vehicles. Generally, their equipment is crude and old-fashioned, and unable to limit odours or spills from liquids. 

So far, at least 616 private teams have been encouraged to join environmental co-operative groups or become private businesses, according to city authorities.

Seven districts in the city now have all of their garbage collection done by co-operative groups or private businesses.

However, the garbage-collecting union in District 5 has complained that there are no clear benefits to join co-operative groups or becoming legal businesses..

Most of the union members are poor labourers who cannot afford to buy better equipment. The price they receive for garbage collection is only 15,000-30,000 VND (0.64 - 1.29 USD) for each household.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment and all 24 districts are working with private garbage collectors on setting up collection schedules and prices. They have also asked the city to offer soft loans to private collectors to buy better vehicles.  

The amount of garbage discharged in the city has reached around 10,000 tonnes daily and is expected to increase by 10 percent next year.-VNS/VNA