|Rubbish has been dumped into the Tan Hoa-Lo Gom Canal in HCM City's Tan Phu District. It is one of several seriously polluted canals in the city. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai
HCM CITY (VNS) — Several canals in HCM City have been seriously polluted by junk and waste thrown in by neighbouring residents.
Phan Van Han Canal in Binh Thanh District is now bubbling with waste. The water is black and stinks and floats back into the homes of those who created the problem.
The Bau Trau Canal in District 6 is the same condition. The canal has been declared "dead" by people in the area.
There is so much sewage, that the water has stopped flowing. Local residents can be seen throwing waste into the canal every day, even using it as a toilet.
The canal is also the exit point for industrial waste discharged by nearby manufacturing workshops.
In 2014, the HCM City People's Committee agreed to collect waste from the canal. But so far, nothing has been done.
Fish die en masse
Pollution has also returned to Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal which was cleaned up using tens of thousands of dollars.
Last week, tens of thousands of fish died and were seen belly up in a section of the canal. It was the first time fish died en masse in the canal, and it's caused concern among local people.
The city's Urban Environment Company sent dozens of workers to collect several dozen tonnes of dead fish.
The municipal Fishery Resources Management and Protection Department said the main reason for the dead fish was heavy rains in previous days that had flooded sewers and washed waste into the canal.
Domestic waste thrown into the canal by residents had also added to the problem.
The city spent around a decade and more than US$390 million, including funding from the World Bank, to bring it back from a stinky, dirty canal several years ago.
Local people are alarmed the pollution has returned, and authorities are trying to raise awareness of environmental protection.
The Tan Hoa-Lo Gom canal running through densely-populated areas of districts 6 11, Tan Binh and Tan Phu is at risk of pollution again after it had been upgraded and cleaned up recently.
After the canal's banks were upgraded, several restaurants, cafes and bike parking lots were built on it, and now the canal is seriously polluted by waste discharged from residents and the restaurants and cafes.
According to recent investigation by the Environment Administration, the water in the Sai Gon River and the city's canals is severely polluted.
The main reason is untreated waste water from industrial production and daily life.
In the areas around the Cau Xang-Kenh Xang, Rach Cay Kho-Tac Ben Ro and Thay Cai canals, the index of ammoniac gas (NH3) exceeds the standard norm.
Cao Tung Son, deputy head of HCM City's Natural Resources and Environment Department, said canals which were upgraded and dredged are at risk fromk pollution again.
He said one of the major solutions to prevent water pollution in rivers and canals was to strictly control waste water.
At present, the department is setting up a regulation on discharging waste water.
Under the regulation, production workshops which discard 1,000cu.m or more of waste water per day must be equipped with an automatic waste water monitoring system, said Son.
By September this year, the city would complete the installation of automatic waste water monitoring systems in 15 industrial zones, export processing zones and high-tech zones, he said. — VNS