Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal to return to its old glory

Workers are rushing to complete the environmental project to clean the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal, so as to open up Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Streets along the canal for traffic by August.

Lines of trees and rows of ornamental plants have already begun to green the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal area (Photo: SGGP)

The lines of trees and rows of ornamental plants have already begun to green the streets, which once were filled with garbage and unwanted litter, giving off a foul stench.

Nguyen Ba Trao, living in Mieu Noi apartment block, said that 50 years ago the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal was crystal clear with blue waters and he used to go fishing there every day as a young boy of 25.

However, later so many poor people came to inhabit the area and built temporary houses and all waste from their homes flowed directly into the canal which eventually became heavily polluted with black grimy wastewater that was perpetually stinking.

From 1993-1998, Ho Chi Minh City cleared away thousands of low-roofed temporary house structures and made way for roads alongside the canal.

The environmental project to clean the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal kicked off in 2003 at a total investment of US$317 million, of which $294 million was loaned from the World Bank.

The project cost included equipment to dredge the canal, install a drainage system along the canal, upgrade Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Streets, making them among the most beautiful streets in HCMC.

Ngo Ba An, deputy director of the Urban Traffic Management Department No.1, said that execution units are rushing to complete last minute items to officially open the two streets for traffic in August.

The roads have been broadened from few meters to 16 meters to enhance the beauty of Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal and reduce traffic jams in the area.

Phan Chau Thuan, director of the project's management board, said that all the wastewater from the area will not now flow into the canal any more but into an 8.9 kilometer drainage pipe leading to the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe pumping station, which will siphon wastewater from garbage, before releasing it into the Saigon River.

Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe will receive only rainwater and river water and is expected to become clear again after one year, he said.

The pumping station will begin to function at 10 Nguyen Huu Canh in Binh Thanh District by August, and receive wastewater of 1.2 million residents in Districts 1, 3, 10, Phu Nhuan, Binh Thanh, Tan Binh and Go Vap.

Wastewater will flow into box drains along a stretch of 70 kilometers that have been installed along 69 roads in the above districts during the years 2005 to July 2012.

The box drains will connect with the 8.9 kilometer drain of diameter three meters, along the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal to run into the pumping station.

In the second phase of the project, a wastewater treatment plant will be built in District 2.

By staff writers – Translated by Hai Mien

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