HCM CITY — Municipal authorities are considering breaking up a billion dollar sanitation project in order to attract badly needed investment, officials say.
Luong Minh Phuc, head of the management board of the Water Environment Improvement Project, said the city lacked capital to carry out the Doi-Te Environmental Sanitation Project.
The project needs around US$1 billion, including several million dollars to pay compensation to more than 10,000 local residents, he said.
Local authorities have struggled to compensate residents for land taken from residents for the project.
Phuc said that the city is considering to divide the project into several parts to encourage more investors to join.
The city has five major canals, Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe, Tau Hu-Ben Nghe, Tan Hoa-Lo Gom, Doi-Te and Tham Luong-Ben Cat runing through 24 districts, including the inner-city districts of 1, 3, 4, 6, Phu Nhuan and Binh Thanh.
Over the last three decades, the city government has made great efforts to improve the canal environment, Phuc said.
He said the first phase of the Tau Hu-Ben Nghe project had been completed, making significant contribution to reduced flooding, improving traffic and public health
Although the project has not been finished, thousands of households who live along the canal have benefited, Phuc said. Work on the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal project officially began in 2003, also helping the city fight flooding problems and environmental pollution.
The canal runs for over 33sq.km through seven districts.
The project's first phase, completed in June, cost about $317 million. The funds were raised through Official Development Assistance loans ($294 million) and local capital of nearly US$23 million.
A wastewater treatment plant will be built in District 2 to treat water from the canal. Officials expect Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe to become a "green canal" in the near future.
The three remaining canals are heavily polluted by domestic and industrial wastewater.
The city's Department of Natural Resources and Environment has reported test results showing BOD (biodiversity- oxygen demand), COD (chemical oxygen demand) and coliform contamination were 1,000 times higher than the allowed level. Pollution gets worse at low tides.
Part of the problem is that many facilities operating in the city do not have any wastewater treatment system and release their waste directly into the canal system, officials said. — VNS