Saigon, Dong Nai rivers in jeopardy of further degradation

A group of General Assembly delegates from Ho Chi Minh City has inspected the degree of environmental pollution in the Saigon and Dong Nai rivers and has reported alarming results.

Saigon River

According to the head office of the Saigon Water Supply Company (SAWACO), the quality of water in the two rivers has deteriorated rapidly and will likely continue to seriously affect residents’ water used for daily activities.

Mr. Bui Thanh Giang, director of the Thu Duc water plant the city, said, “Pollution of the Saigon River directly impacts water treatment capacity at the Tan Hiep water plant in the city. In recent years, the quality of water in the Saigon River has been [very poor]. Turbidity, pH, and salinity have increased to high levels, hence the Tan Hiep water plant must increase levels of chlorine, alum, and lime for water treatment.”

Mr. Vo Quang Chau, deputy general director of SAWACO, said that according to regular water tests over the past five years, the quality of water in the Dong Nai River basin is also rapidly worsening.

Levels of bacteria, ammonia, and harmful organic matter have increased rapidly and now exceed permitted standards by dozens of times. This has created extra difficulties and expenses for water treatment plants. According to SAWACO, it now spends VND4.5 billion per year on salt-processing alone.

According to Tran Du Lich, deputy head of the General Assembly group of delegates, the Environmental Protection Committee of the Dong Nai River should enforce environmental protection regulations by setting a deadline for polluting enterprises  to adhere to environmental standards. If successful, then HCMC will launch a similar project in the future.

Mr. Bui Cach Tuyen, head of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment said, “Nearly two years since its establishment, the Environmental Protection Committee is still slow in enforcing environmental regulations. Moreover, each of the committee members has numerous other commitments so it is difficult for them to carry out tasks in a concerted manner.”

Pham Phuong Thao, head of the group of General Assembly delegates, proposed that the Department of Natural Resources and Environment promptly ask the Government for more funding for the Environmental Protection Committee of Dong Nai River. Only when the Dong Nai River project is conceptualized as a national issue can the river’s environmental integrity be salvaged from further degradation said Ms. Thao.

By Ai Van-Translated by Hong Tran

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