HCMC authority to closer monitor environment quality

Recent test results that showed 90/ 100 underwater samples in Ho Chi Minh City were polluted has raised concern in the public and city residents want the local government to issue urgent measures to reduce environmental pollution.

Treating waste at a factory (Photo: SGGP)

According to the test results, pollution level varied between different sections and many companies discharged untreated waste water into environment causing serious pollution.

Pointing out the cause of pollution, deputy chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Van Khoa said that water is severely polluted because of uncontrolled exploitation of underground water in residential quarters, export processing zones and industrial parks. For companies, exploiting underground water aims to reduce production cost while residents make use of underground water for their essential demand and habit.

Additionally, the population growth with 3 – 4 percent a year plus natural increase in population of  1 percent per year is the cause to the environmental pollution. As per the city population planning, by 2020 the population of HCMC is 10 million people yet at present more than 13 million people are living in the city. Along with the increase in residents, the number of enterprises also surged dramatically leading to a large quantity of waste.

Currently, the city discharges 8,200 tons of waste a day produced from daily activities and 300 tons of medical waste plus 200 tons of dangerous waste. All of them are treated by burying which caused harmful effects on environment.

When it comes to the matter, a representative from the city’s Department of Environment and Natural Resource said that last year, inspectors issued fines to 40 companies collecting over VND2 billion (US$ 88,540) and inspectors from People’s Committee also fined 45 other companies. Total fines are VND11 billion. Until now, basically it has controlled waste produced in medical facilities and dangerous waste which most medical waste is burnt and dangerous waste is buried.

The Department will liaise with district authorities to sort out waste aiming to reducing buried waste and raise the number of recycled waste.

Deputy Chairman Le Van Khoa said that the city authority feel ashamed for present environment quality; accordingly improvement of environment will be urgent matter in the next time. He stressed the Department must propose measures and authority will constitutionally impose prohibition on enterprises in export processing zones and industrial parks  against exploiting underground water.

Meantime, authority will increase information to residents not to sue underground water. Besides, the city tries to supply fresh water to each household which is an important step for the roadmap of limiting and ban using the water in residential blocks.

Upon treatment of waste, the Department will call for investment of the state-of-the-art burning methods. City authority gradually encouraged waste treatment company to use burning technology. People’s Committee will provide special vehicles to implement the program to sort out waste as well as support medical check-up for laborers.

Last but not least, the city will increase inspection by using modern equipment.

By Minh Xuan – translated by Uyen Phuong

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