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Silt buildup chokes local waterway traffic

Update: April, 04/2014 - 08:53

Quang Binh is the region's hardest-hit province as its Nhat Le, Ly Hoa, Dinh and Roon estuaries have severe buildup of silt.— Photo fistenet  

HCM CITY (VNS) — Local authorities are struggling to find affordable ways to solve the continuing problems of silt buildup in estuaries in the central region, a problem that hinders the movement of boats in the area.

Most of the 19 estuaries located from Quang Binh Province to Phu Yen Province are full of silt, according to a report in Tuoi Tre (Youth) news paper.

Quang Binh is the region's hardest-hit province as its Nhat Le, Ly Hoa, Dinh and Roon estuaries have severe buildup of silt.

Fisherman Nguyen Ngoc Quy said the Roon estuary was 100 metres wide and boats with an engine of 400 horsepower could travel through it easily.

But in recent years, the buildup of silt has narrowed the estuary to 30 metres, and now has a depth of one metre at low tide, blocking fishing boats.

"Every year, about 50 fishing boats are stranded at the estuary," Quy said.

Most stranded boats have broken propellers, rudders and other parts, he said.

"Some stranded boats broke and sank," he said.

Fishing boats now have to hire small boats to transport fish through the estuary, he said.

Similarly, the width of Da Dien estuary in Phu Yen Province's Tuy Hoa City has narrowed from about 1 km a few years ago to less than 100 metres because of the buildup of silt. During low tide, boats cannot travel through the estuary.

Da Dien estuary is used by more than 600 fishing boats in Phu Dong Ward and Ward 6.

Dao Quang Minh, deputy head of the province's Fisheries Resource Exploitation and Protection Sub-department, said sand built up because there were few floods in the last three years.

Phan Khanh, head of the Tuy Hoa's Economic Bureau, said about 2,000 cu.m of sand, soil and stones build up in Da Dien every year.

Scientists over the years have suggested measures to curb the buildup of silt, but the results would only be temporary and the cost remains prohibitively expensive.

In 2009, Tuy Hoa City, at a very high cost, dredged Da Dien estuary but silt built up again after one year.

In Binh Dinh Province, boats find it difficult travelling to the Tam Quan Bac boat shelter in Hoai Nhon District because the estuary developed silt.

The shelter is a place for more than 1,000 boats to avoid storms, but most large boats have to dock at other places.

Pham Trong Ho, director of the Binh Dinh Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Binh Dinh planned to dredge the estuary at a cost of VND1-1.2 billion (US$47,000-57,000) a year, but it was only a temporary measure as the amount of money was insufficient.

Tran Huu Tuyen, head of the Hue Science University's Geography and Geology Faculty, said in recent years that many construction projects had caused the decline of water flow at river mouths, contributing to the buildup of silt.

More research should be conducted to find cost-effective ways to curb the buildup of silt and do it in a sustainable manner, he added. — VNS

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