Although when served on a plate, bún - also known as vermicelli - usually smells delicious, the production process in Van Cu smelled bad for years, the result of wastewater being discharged untreated into ditches along the roads, ponds and fields.
Water in the ditches and ponds turned black, and families had to keep their doors and windows shut to keep out the stink.
With households investing in advanced machinery for rice noodle production, the amount of untreated waste kept growing, said Nguyen Van Xiem, a local resident said.
“In the past, white foam covered the untreated wastewater surface from rice noodle production, flowing out to ponds and rice fields. So the smell was all over the village,” he said. The number of people suffering respiratory and dermatological diseases was also increasing rapidly, he added.
But in recent years, most households have built tanks to filter wastewater during the production process before discharging it into the sewage system.
Nguyen Xuan No, a veteran noodle makers, said his family built two tanks to filter wastewater, substantially reducing pollution.
Nguyen Van Tich, head of the local traditional craft association, said the provincial Science, Technology and Environment Department had allocated VND2.8 billion (US$123,300) to support households in building wastewater treatment systems starting in 2012.
Now, 80 per cent of households use biogas to treat livestock waste and the whole village has built filter tanks, he said. “This has become a great boost for the development of the craft village,” Tich said.
The collection of garbage and plastic bags generated during the vermicelli production process has also been promoted.
Nearly 50 per cent of village households make vermicelli. The remaining residents participate in the supply of raw materials and marketing tens of tons of noodles each day.