Laos: Chinese banana plantations bring jobs along with dangerous working conditions and pollution

According to a 2017 report by Plan International, Chinese banana plantations in Bokeo province, northern Laos, provide US$100 million in annual exports and make up 95% of Bokeo's exports.

While these banana plantations have created job opportunities for the locals, the working conditions of these workers are dangerous.For example, workers' accomodation is very congested and no toilets or showers are provided. Children under 16 are also found working on the plantations, Some workers said that they seem to have been poisoned by chemicals while working. 

Besides, it has been reported that these banana plantations are associated with pollution and the release of chemicals into rivers and creeks. 

 

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Article
16 October 2019

Laos: Chinese banana plantations bring jobs, dangerous working conditions and pollution

Author: Mark Inkey, China Dialogue

“Chinese banana plantations bring work and pollution to Laos”, 14 October 2019

Chinese banana plantations first started cropping up… in Bokeo province, northern Laos, which borders Thailand and Myanmar. Nowadays they cover more than 11,000 hectares, provide US$100 million in annual exports, and make up 95% of Bokeo’s exports, according to a 2017 report by Plan International.

Most Lao banana plantation workers accept their dangerous working conditions because they earn more doing it than other jobs. The landlords renting to the Chinese plantations know they’re associated with pollution, but again, the exchange seems worth it…

Nong’s [a food shop owner in Bokeo’s capital Huay Xai] father-in-law has mixed feelings about the Chinese banana plantations. “They are good because they have created jobs but bad because they use lots of chemicals.”

He explained that the chemicals end up in the rivers and creeks…

He [Stuart Ling, an independent researcher in agriculture] said the government is trying to align the industry with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), a set of rules that promote economic, social and environmental stability, developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation…

The banana plantations visited by China Dialogue do not appear to follow GAP standards. They had large amounts of burnt plastic waste melted into the ground. Piles of discarded boxes, rotten bananas, trash and empty chemical bottles were left in areas where bananas are washed, packed and loaded onto trucks.

The discarded chemical bottles… included bottles of chloropyrifos, a toxic chemical that can cause death or serious health problems, including lung cancer. Even at very small doses chloropyrifos can harm the development of foetuses and children…

Full-time labourers that live on the plantations and look after them are employed for a season of seven to ten months…

 “We are not allowed to go home unless someone dies. Anyone who leaves for a week or more without giving notice gets fired,” said one couple…

Workers’ accommodation is uncomfortable and very hot. A long shed made from corrugated metal divided up into about six to ten rooms not much bigger than a double bed, one for each worker couple and any children they may have.

Many camps visited by China Dialogue had no toilets or showers. Workers defecate in the forest and bathe in a creek that dries up to a trickle in the hot season and is probably contaminated with agricultural chemicals.

Children under 16 are not supposed to work on the plantations, but no checks seem to be carried out. China Dialogue spoke to a 16-year-old who had been working on banana plantations since he was 14.

Older children might also help in the fields which could be particularly dangerous as agricultural chemicals usually harm children more than adults…

More worryingly, it seems they were poisoned by chemicals while doing the work. One said: “My tongue went numb for about a week and the same happened to three other people I spoke to.” As soon as he said that, all the other men in the group said they had suffered from the same ailment…

Despite the poor working conditions and possible long-term health effects from working on the plantations, there is no shortage of people willing to do it…

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Author: 马克•印基, 中外对话

“老挝的香蕉园:就业与污染同在”, 2019年10月14日

… 中国人经营的香蕉种植园开始出现在老挝北部与泰国和缅甸接壤的博胶省。国际计划组织(Plan International)2017年的一份报告称,如今这些香蕉园占地面积超过1.1万公顷,每年创造1亿美元出口额,占博胶出口总额的95%。

因为工资比其他工作高,老挝香蕉园的工人大多愿意接受危险的工作条件。土地的主人都知道把地租给中国香蕉园会有污染,但同样觉得这份代价似乎是值得的…

[在博胶首府会晒市经营一家食品店的] 阿农的岳父对香蕉园的感情很复杂。“它们创造了就业机会,这很好;但它们使用大量化学品,这就不好了。”

他解释说,这些化学物质最终流到河流和小溪里…

他[农业独立研究员斯图尔特·林]说政府试图让香蕉种植业遵守联合国粮农组织制定的“良好农业规范(GAP)”,该规范旨在促进经济、社会和环境稳定…

作者走访的香蕉园似乎都没有遵循GAP标准,大量烧焦的塑料废料融在泥土里,香蕉清洗、包装和装车的地方满是成堆的废弃箱子、腐烂的香蕉、垃圾和装化学品的空瓶。

这些丢弃的空瓶… 其中有的瓶子上标注的农药是陶斯松,成分是有毒化学物质,可导致死亡或肺癌等严重的健康问题,即使是非常小的剂量也能损害胎儿和儿童发育…

打理香蕉园的全职工人都住在园里,一个工作季为7到10个月…

 “除非有人死了,否则我们没法回家。没请假就离开超过一星期的会被解雇,”一对夫妇说…

工人的住宿条件不好,非常热。一个金属瓦楞板搭起来的长棚子被隔成6到10个房间。每个房间比一张双人床大不了多少。无论孩子多少,每对夫妇都只有一间房。

作者走访的营地大多没有厕所和淋浴。工人们在森林里上厕所,在小溪里洗澡,溪水可能已经被农业化学品污染,而且天气热的话小溪还会干涸。

16岁以下的儿童不应该在种植园工作,但似乎也没人管理。我采访了一位16岁的少年,他从14岁起就在香蕉园工作。

年龄较大的儿童也会下地帮忙,这对孩子来说,尤其危险,因为农业化学品对儿童的危害通常大于成人。

更令人担忧的是,工作中接触的化学物质似乎在损害他们的身体。有人说:“我的舌头麻了有一个星期,我知道的另外还有3个人和我有一样的症状。”他说到这一点时,小组里其他人都说自己也有同样的问题…

尽管工作条件很差,健康也可能受到长期影响,但愿意去种植园工作的人不在少数…

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Author: 马克•印基, 中外对话

“老撾的香蕉園:就業與污染同在”, 2019年10月14日

… 中國人經營的香蕉種植園開始出現在老撾北部與泰國和緬甸接壤的博膠省。國際計劃組織(Plan International)2017年的一份報告稱,如今這些香蕉園佔地面積超過1.1萬公頃,每年創造1億美元出口額,佔博膠出口總額的95%。

因為工資比其他工作高,老撾香蕉園的工人大多願意接受危險的工作條件。土地的主人都知道把地租給中國香蕉園會有污染,但同樣覺得這份代價似乎是值得的…

[在博膠首府會曬市經營一家食品店的] 阿農的岳父對香蕉園的感情很複雜。 “它們創造了就業機會,這很好;但它們使用大量化學品,這就不好了。”

他解釋說,這些化學物質最終流到河流和小溪里…

他[農業獨立研究員斯圖爾特·林]說政府試圖讓香蕉種植業遵守聯合國糧農組織製定的“良好農業規範(GAP)”,該規範旨在促進經濟、社會和環境穩定…

作者走訪的香蕉園似乎都沒有遵循GAP標準,大量燒焦的塑料廢料融在泥土裡,香蕉清洗、包裝和裝車的地方滿是成堆的廢棄箱子、腐爛的香蕉、垃圾和裝化學品的空瓶。

這些丟棄的空瓶… 其中有的瓶子上標註的農藥是陶斯松,成分是有毒化學物質,可導致死亡或肺癌等嚴重的健康問題,即使是非常小的劑量也能損害胎兒和兒童發育…

打理香蕉園的全職工人都住在園裡,一個工作季為7到10個月…

 
“除非有人死了,否則我們沒法回家。沒請假就離開超過一星期的會被解僱,”一對夫婦說…

工人的住宿條件不好,非常熱。一個金屬瓦楞板搭起來的長棚子被隔成6到10個房間。每個房間比一張雙人床大不了多少。無論孩子多少,每對夫婦都只有一間房。

作者走訪的營地大多沒有廁所和淋浴。工人們在森林裡上廁所,在小溪里洗澡,溪水可能已經被農業化學品污染,而且天氣熱的話小溪還會乾涸。

16歲以下的兒童不應該在種植園工作,但似乎也沒人管理。我採訪了一位16歲的少年,他從14歲起就在香蕉園工作。

年齡較大的兒童也會下地幫忙,這對孩子來說,尤其危險,因為農業化學品對兒童的危害通常大於成人。

更令人擔憂的是,工作中接觸的化學物質似乎在損害他們的身體。有人說:“我的舌頭麻了有一個星期,我知道的另外還有3個人和我有一樣的症狀。”他說到這一點時,小組裡其他人都說自己也有同樣的問題…

儘管工作條件很差,健康也可能受到長期影響,但願意去種植園工作的人不在少數…

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20 May 2020

Laos: Villagers claim to be sickened by chemical waste from Chinese-owned banana farms

Author: Radio Free Asia

“Lao Villagers Sickened by Chemical Run-off From Chinese Banana Farms”, 15 May 2020

Chemical waste from Chinese-owned banana farms is polluting a river in Bokeo province in northern Laos, leaving local villagers who bathe in the stream with severe rashes and other skin disorders, Lao sources say…

“Children who go to bathe in the river later have rashes all over their bodies…” RFA’s source said.

“Only those of us living downstream [from the farms] have this problem. Those who live upstream have not been affected,” he said, adding that villagers suspect that chemical waste from the farms runs off into the river when it rains.

“Sometimes, workers may even pour chemicals directly into the river. We just don’t know,” he said…

An official from Bokeo’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry told RFA that he had recently visited Nam Fa and spoken to the villagers there, but had heard no complaints from them about their rashes or itching…

Concerns over chemical run-off from heavily polluting Chinese-owned banana plantations led in January 2017 to government orders forbidding new banana concessions, though many farms were left to operate under contracts valid for several more years.

Illnesses and deaths have long been reported among Lao workers exposed to chemicals on foreign-owned farms…

Chemical run-off from farms has also polluted many of the country’s water sources, killing fish and other animals and leaving water from local rivers and streams unfit to drink, sources say.

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Author: 亚洲自由电台

[此翻译由企业责任资源中心提供]

“老挝村民因中资香蕉园流出的化学物质而患病”,2020515

老挝消息人士称,中国香蕉园产生的化学废料正在污染老挝北部博胶省(Bokeo)的一条河流,导致在河中洗澡的当地村民患上严重皮疹和其他皮肤病……

自由亚洲之声(RFA)称,“在河里洗澡的小孩都长了皮疹……”

“只有我们这些生活在(种植园)下游的人才有这个问题。那些生活在上游的人没有受到影响,”他补充说,村民们怀疑香蕉园的化学废料在下雨时流入河流。

“有时,工人甚至可能直接向河里倾倒化学物质。我们只是不知道,”他说……

博胶农林部的一名官员告诉自由亚洲之声,他最近去了南定(Nam Fa),并与那里的村民交谈,但没有听到他们投诉皮疹或瘙痒的问题……

20171月,由于担心中资香蕉园排放的化学物质造成严重污染,政府下令不再签发新的香蕉园特许经营权,尽管许多香蕉种植户的土地特许经营权还有数年才到期。

一直有报道指出,在外国种植园工作的老挝工人因接触化学品而患病和死亡……

有消息称,香蕉园排放的化学物质还污染了老挝的许多水源,导致鱼类和其他动物死亡,当地河流和溪流的水不再适合饮用。

 

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Author: 亞洲自由電台

[此翻譯由企業責任資源中心提供]

“老撾村民因中資香蕉園流出的化學物質而患病”, 2020515

老撾消息人士稱,中國香蕉園產生的化學廢料正在污染老撾北部博膠省( Bokeo )的一條河流,導致在河中洗澡的當地村民患上嚴重皮疹和其他皮膚病……

自由亞洲之聲( RFA )稱,“在河裡洗澡的小孩都長了皮疹……”

“只有我們這些生活在(種植園)下游的人才有這個問題。那些生活在上游的人沒有受到影響,”他補充說,村民們懷疑香蕉園的化學廢料在下雨時流入河流。

“有時,工人甚至可能直接向河裡傾倒化學物質。我們只是不知道,”他說……

博膠農林部的一名官員告訴自由亞洲之聲,他最近去了南定( Nam Fa ),並與那裡的村民交談,但沒有聽到他們投訴皮疹或瘙癢的問題……

20171月,由於擔心中資香蕉園排放的化學物質造成嚴重污染,政府下令不再簽發新的香蕉園特許經營權,儘管許多香蕉種植戶的土地特許經營權還有數年才到期。

一直有報導指出,在外國種植園工作的老撾工人因接觸化學品而患病和死亡……

有消息稱,香蕉園排放的化學物質還污染了老撾的許多水源,導致魚類和其他動物死亡,當地河流和溪流的水不再適合飲用。

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