HCM CITY — Many rivers and canals in HCM City are being filled illegally for private purposes, causing environmental damage, according to the municipal Department of Transport.
|Part of an irrigation dyke on the right bank of the Sai Gon River in HCM City. The city's Transport Department has raised the alarm over rampant pollution of the city's waterways. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
The agency cites 112 cases that have violated regulations on the protection of rivers and canals.
Of these, 34 cases involved encroachment on rivers and canals, and 78 others construction of houses on corridors used to protect rivers and canals.
Violators included individual households and companies.
Tran Van Phuoc, who lives in District 12's Thoi An Ward, for example, is one of many individuals who have filled waterways for personal purposes.
He has yet to be fined or penalised for filling 1,500 sq. metres of the Cho Cau River in 2000.
Among the companies violating regulations is Hao Huong Company in Hoc Mon District's Nhi Binh Commune.
The company filled parts of the Sai Gon River for the construction of its production facilities.
The Lien Thanh Fisheries Company in Thu Duc District's Linh Dong Ward has occupied nearly one kilometre of the Sai Gon River's bank for its private purposes.
Most of the serious violations took place at points that are under the management of local government officials, but many rivers under State management have also been used illegally for personal and company uses.
These include a section of the Cho Dem River in District 8, part of the Dong Nai River in District 9, and the Sai Gon River in districts 6, 2 and 12, Binh Thanh, Thu Duc, Cu Chi and Hoc Mon.
In 2011, 7,000 sq. metres of rivers and canals in the city were filled and illegally used.
Phan Hoang Tri, deputy director of the Inland Waterways Authority, said the construction of solid concrete works along the banks of the rivers and canals were one of the main reasons causing serious landslides.
In 2011, nine landslides took place at points where these violations had occurred, resulting in one death and 20 collapsed houses.
Tri said that violations of river and canal corridor-protection regulations had been increasing rapidly in recent years, but only 30 per cent of these cases had received penalties.
The Inland Waterways Authority has several times asked local authorities to strictly deal with these violations, but Tri said they continued to allow the activity to occur or just ignored violators. — VNS