|Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai on Monday asked the Ha Noi People's Committee to speed up projects on Nhue and Tich rivers after carrying out an inspection in mid-April. — Photo moitruongmivitech
HA NOI (VNS) — Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai on Monday asked the Ha Noi People's Committee to speed up projects on restoring water flows and reducing pollution in major rivers in the city.
His instruction followed an earlier call for drastic measures to speed up projects on Nhue and Tich rivers after carrying out an inspection in mid-April.
Last year, the Ha Noi People's Committee decided to spend about VND800 billion ($37 million) on projects restoring the Nhue and Tich rivers.
The Deputy PM's inspection found that several sections of the rivers were nearly dry. Pollution was high and irrigation facilities were yet to improve.
Three river systems in the south and the west of the city – the Day, Tich and Nhue rivers – provide water for irrigation and daily use for more than 4.3 million residents in 20 districts and towns of Ha Noi and neighbouring provinces, including Ha Nam, Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh and Hoa Binh.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had ordered the Ha Noi People's Committee, the agriculture ministry and relevant agencies in 2008 to develop projects to tackle river pollution and improve their flows for better irrigation.
The order followed unusually heavy rains that began on October 30, 2008, and caused the worst floods in Ha Noi in more than 20 years.
Dung later approved a project to protect the environment in two river basins – Day and Nhue. The project's estimated funding of over VND 3 trillion (US$138.5 million) was to be drawn from the State budget, Viet Nam Environment Protection Fund, overseas aid and the private sector.
Local authorities told Deputy PM Hai that pollution in the Nhue River was being caused by untreated wastewater being discharged from industrial zones and trade villages along the river banks.
Meanwhile, Ha Noi's construction department said 23 spots in the city's inner areas were vulnerable to floods during the rainy season.
Deputy PM Hai asked concerned agencies to make thorough preparations for the eventuality of flooding, particularly in the inner areas of the city.
He said there should be solutions to mitigate the impacts of low water levels in the Hong River in the dry season.
He said the city could consider and propose spending of government bond revenues for the Yen Nghia Pumping Station Project and another one formulating plans for the River Day's dyke system.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been asked to study possible impacts on production and environment if the River Tich's waters are channeled into the River Day as a way of balancing water supply and ensuring irrigation.
Pham Van Khanh, deputy director of Ha Noi's Natural Resources and Environment Department, said that pollution in trading villages was making it difficult to implement river vitalising projects.
"Addressing pollution in trading villages usually goes with other social issues like removing establishments that cause pollution and providing alternative jobs for their workers," he said.
Furthermore, enterprises and residents living along the river banks lack proper awareness of the environmental protection law as also the importance of abiding by it.
Except for Ha Noi, the four provinces in the Nhue and Day river basins don't have wastewater treatment plants.
A study by the Ha Noi University of Architecture last year showed that over 6,500 tonnes of solid waste is discharged into the Nhue and Day rivers daily, the Xay dung (Construction) newspaper reported.
Local media also carried several reports on the mass deaths of fish in the Nhue River last year because of water pollution. — VNS