|The Riviera Point company, a joint venture between Tan Truong Company and a Singapore partner, for example, has filled 4, 700 sq metres of estuaries of Ca Cam Canal to build a housing project in Tan Phu Ward, District 7. — Photo tuoitre.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — The filling of canals with soil to make way for property projects has worsened flooding in HCM City, according to environmental experts.
The Riviera Point company, a joint venture between Tan Truong Company and a Singapore partner, for example, has filled 4, 700 sq metres of estuaries of Ca Cam Canal to build a housing project in Tan Phu Ward, District 7, as reported in Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
The District 7's People's Committee said the company had also filled up 3,000 sq metres of Ca Cam Canal.
However, Riviera Point said it had only filled about 2,000 sq metres of the canal, according to Tuoi Tre .
Local media reported that construction began in early 2012 but the fill-up of the canal was discovered a year later when state auditors checked land use in the area.
Authorities are investigating the violation as severe flooding has been occurring in the area.
Local residents said the Riviera Point construction had narrowed the canal.
"Rainwater used to run off quickly, but not since the project development," said a local resident in District 7.
Other canals in the city have been filled for the same purposes.
A section of Duoi Trau Canal at Tan Tao Ward in Binh Tan District, for example, is now seriously polluted.
The canal used to be 6.5 metres wide but is now much narrower, according to the HCM City Anti-flooding Programme Operation Centre.
Binh Thuan Ward authorities said that at least 518 violations had occurred in the ward, but no case had been punished.
Trinh Minh Cong, an officer of Binh Thuan Ward, said that District 7's People's Committee was waiting for guidance from the city government to handle the violations.
Local residents have also been filling canals with soil for personal purposes.
The 100-metre wide Ban Don canal section in Binh Thuan Ward, for example, is being encroached on by local residents living along the canal.
More than 40 sq km of 100 canals and other waterways have been filled as a result of urbanisation, according to official statistics.
To deal with pollution and flooding, HCM City has spent hundreds of millions of US dollars to revive the Nhieu Loc–Thi Nghe canal and Tan Hoa–Lo Gom canal, clearing houses along the canal.
The city has also kicked off a VND2 trillion (US$91.7 million) project to dig up the Hang Bang canal, which was filled 15 years ago.
A 600-metre long section of the canal, which runs through districts 5 and 6, was filled up in 2000 after it became seriously polluted. — VNS