City strives to reduce environmental pollution

In an all-out drive to reduce environmental pollution, Ho Chi Minh City has closed down several polluting factories, invested heavily in a canal clean-up operation and reduced flooding caused by heavy rains and high tide.

Ben Nghe Canal being dredged in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

Quach To Dung, deputy director of the City Department of Industry and Trade, said a steering committee was established for the period 2003-2006, to remove all polluting production units from the City’s center area.

So far, of more than 1,600 units listed, several have already been relocated to Le Minh Xuan, Tan Tao and Hiep Phuoc Industrial Zones. A number of others have switched to environmental friendly businesses that do not cause pollution.

In 2011, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment in HCMC proposed to make environment the key issue. The department has since been tackling those units which were not relocated by the   steering committee earlier.

Tran Nguyen Hien, head of the Environment Protection Division under the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that several residential areas continue to suffer from pollution and new polluting production units have sprouted in Districts 12 and Binh Tan.

Almost 450 businesses, located along the canals, are discharging upto 50 cubic meters of wastewater every day into the Saigon River. More than 60 percent of these businesses do not even bother to treat the wastewater before releasing it into the river.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment will coordinate with district authorities to inspect polluting sources and find measures to tackle the issue, Mr. Hien said.

The City has implemented effective clean-up operations in Tau Hu-Ben Nghe, Tan Hoa-Lo Gom, Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe, Doi and Te Canals.

Tham Luong-Ben Cat Canal is under a project to tackle both flooding and pollution, affecting 14,900 hectares of agricultural and residential area.

The City has also closely worked with neighboring provinces like Binh Duong, Tay Ninh, Long An, Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau in implementing environment projects.

In particular, the water quality in Ba Bo Canal has improved, wastewater discharge into the Saigon and Vam Co Dong Rivers and Thay Cai-An Ha Canal has reduced along with pollution in the Thi Vai River and compensation has been given to affected residents.

HCMC and Long An Province are also currently working on a project to build a solid waste treatment plant.

By Ai Van – Translated by Hai Mien

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