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Ha Long tackles pollution by shifting floating villages

Update: January, 09/2014 - 09:05
A view of a floating village on the Ha Long Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh. As many as 200 households of floating villages in the bay will be moved inland. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Dan

QUANG NINH  (VNS) — As many as 200 households living in floating villages in Ha Long Bay will be moved inland before Tet, according to Pham Hong Ha, Vice Chairman of Ha Long City People's Committee.

Another 164 households will also be moved to an eight-hectare resettlement area in Ha Phong Ward before March 15.

The VND167 billion (US$7.6 million) resettlement project aims to tackle worsening pollution in the bay, a UNESCO natural heritage site, Ha told Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.

"Tourists won't see the village's daily waste anymore," Ha said, adding that the city would preserve some fishery areas for commercial and tourism purposes.

Do Thi Nhai, a floating village resident, said her family looked forward to experiencing a better life in the resettlement area.

"The floating boat-house that we've lived in for 20 years is only 25 square metres. We don't have any bathroom or toilet." she said. "We're really happy we can celebrate the new year in a new house inland."

Doan Van Thuan, who has been living in Cua Van Floating Village for 15 years, was also optimistic.

"My children won't have to sit on the boat-house and dip their legs in the water during their free time any more. And they will have better education inland," he said.

Trinh Tat Thang, deputy director of the city's Project Management Board, said that investment would be made to create a waterway transport system in order to help residents earn a living.

There are 626 private floating houses in Ha Long Bay, home to over 2,100 people. Of the 510 households who are registered residents of Ha Long City, 364 will be moved inland under the project. As for the rest, some already have houses inland, while those who are not registered as city residents will have to move without financial support from the city. — VNS

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