Industrial Pollution Deteriorates Rivers and Cannels in City

According to an environmental agency’s recent report, 237 tons of waste from daily living activities, and tons of unprocessed liquid waste from plants and factories in Ho Chi Minh City, are dumped or drained into the Sai Gon River every day. 

237 tons of waste from daily living activities, and tons of unprocessed liquid waste from plants and factories are dumped or drained into the Sai Gon River every day. 

Cannels in suburban areas of the city used to be places where farmers could take a bath or wash after working in the fields, but now the water in the canals is turning pitch-dark and emanating a terrible odor.

Mr. Nguyen Van Hoang, a resident of Hoc Mon District said, “Farmers here used to grow healthy produce, but now nothing can grow in this desperately polluted environment!”

Indeed, waste liquid including detergents of all kinds, chemical substances, and pigments from factories in the area are pouring into the canals day after day. Along the Ba Bo canal dozens of hectares of vegetables are withering from the polluted waters.

The same situation has occurred in a number of sections of the Sai Gon River flooded by waste water from factories in the Binh Duong and Tay Ninh Provices.  Along the same river but near different factories, the water appears murky red, milky white, or dirty black—all caused by pollutants.

So, when will the pollution in rivers and cannels in the city come to an end?  Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Huynh, director of the Irrigational Work Exploitation and Management Plant of Thu Duc District, said, “This can’t be done overnight as most river branches and main cannels are polluted.”

Although the city has built a number of large-scale industrial zones with modern waste treatment facilities, many medium and small –scale enterprises are hesitant or unwilling to follow suit, due to high rental fees.

For instance, instead of complying with the city’s policy that plants and factories within the city which cause pollution move into industrial zones, many medium and small–scale factories purchase land in suburban areas, and build their factories there.

Since these factories and plants do not have enough money to invest in their own waste water treatment system, they continue pouring the waste water into rivers or cannels.

What a vicious circle!

By Quoc Hung – Translated by Phuong Lan

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