|Fishing ships docked at Song Doc Port in the southern province of Ca Mau's Tran Van Thoi District. Rubbish discharged from the ships has polluted ports in the province. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
HA NOI (VNS) — Pollution in seaports in the southern-most province of Ca Mau had exceeded the regulated levels by five times and affecting local people's health, according to the latest survey by the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Pollution has been caused by erosion, oil discharged by thousands of fishing boats and local residents throwing their rubbish into the sea.
The most polluted port is Song Doc in Tran Van Thoi District, which has a population of around 90,000 people and nearly 3,000 fishing vessels.
The second worst polluted is Khanh Hoi in U Minh District which has nearly 40,000 residents and roughly 700 fishing boats.
Nguyen Thanh Ben from Song Doc Town said the pollution had built up over dozens of years.
He said that local authorities needed strict penalties for people who caused pollution.
Nguyen Van Ba, director of the Ca Mau Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the province would invest VND5 billion (US$238,000) next year to dredge the Song Doc and Khanh Hoi seaports to improve conditions there.
Fishing boats would be fined for discharging waste in port, he said.
More than 600 houses that encroach on the seaports were set to be torn down next year, and there were plans to raise local residents' awareness of environmental protection, he added.
"Imposing fines is very difficult because most residents are poor and do not have enough money to pay for the fine," he said.
Some families had been caught using electricity and dynamite to catch fish, which was depleting fish stocks and causing pollution.
"We can hold their boats for a few days, but we have to return them because that is the only way people have of making a living for their families," said Ba.
The most important task was to help residents understand that protecting the seaports and fish was beneficial to them, and local authorities would set up youth volunteer teams to collect rubbish at the ports, Ba finished. — VNS