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Water hyacinth blocks barges in polluted Tay Ninh river

Update: March, 02/2015 - 08:54
The early appearance of the free-floating plants on the 150-km Vam Co Dong river – one of the most important in the province's river system – has also caused difficulties for area transport, as it blocks the waterway. — Photo tinmoitruong

TAY NINH (VNS) — For more than a week, the surface of Vam Co Dong River in the southern province of Tay Ninh has been blanketed with water hyacinths, due to pollution.

The early appearance of the free-floating plants on the 150-km Vam Co Dong river – one of the most important in the province's river system – has also caused difficulties for area transport, as it blocks the waterway.

Local authorities estimate that up to 3 million square metres of the river's surface had been covered by water hyacinths. The plant has covered up to 90 per cent of the surface of the river section from Hoa Thanh District's Long Thanh Nam Commune to Go Dau District's Cam Giang Commune. Also, many river ports have become isolated as barges and boats cannot travel in the area.

Thirty-year-old Nguyen Huu Danh, a resident in Long Thanh Nam Commune, said that before the Tet (Lunar New Year) vacation, he saw water hyacinths floating on the surface water, though there were not many of them.

"During Tet, the plant grew so fast that now the river has turned into a green carpet," he said.

Danh added that he faced many difficulties in traveling in his boat to the other bank of the river to reach his rice field.

"Though the two banks are just 40 metres apart, it takes me at least two to three hours to go to the other side by motor-boat," he said.

According to Danh, water hyacinths normally grow rapidly in early April, but this year the spread of the plants started earlier, indicating that the water has become seriously polluted.

Meanwhile, Trinh Van Lo, deputy director of the provincial Department of Transport, said that the more polluted the water was, the stronger the plant grew.

"The reason for the fast growth of water hyacinths is pollution caused by waste water discharged from factories, including those processing cassava flour and rubber latex on two banks," he said.

Nguyen Dinh Xuan, director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that besides waste water from factories, another source of the river's pollution came from waste water discharged by residents in urban areas of Tay Ninh City, Chau Thanh, Go Dau, Hoa Thanh and Duong Minh Chau districts.

Handling the fast growing water hyacinths has been difficult for local authorities, despite efforts, such as removing them from the river or blocking plants floating from the upper stream.

Nguyen Manh Hung, deputy chairman of the provincial People's Committee, said that the province would pilot the scheme of hiring residents along the river to fish out the water hyacinth.

"By doing this, we hope to clear the plant and, at the same time, create jobs for poor local residents," he said.— VNS

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