|The bed of water, belonging to the Bắc Hưng Hải irrigational system, is seriously polluted by waste water discharged from plants in the Tân Hồng Industrial Zone in the northern province of Hải Dương. — VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Tú|
HÀ NỘI — Hundreds of thousands of hectares of crops in the North of the country are being watered with polluted water.
Bắc Hưng Hải irrigation system including a main dredged canal of more than 232km, branch canals of about 2,000km, dams, dykes and pumping stations – spans over three northern provinces of Hải Dương, Hưng Yên, Bắc Ninh and part of Hà Nội.
The system built in the late 1950s is limited by the Hồng River to the west, the Đuống River to the north, the Thái Bình River to the east and the Luộc River to the south.
It is designed to provide water for 135,000ha of crops and control floods for 185,000ha of cultivation area.
Due to rapid industrialisation and urbanisation in the area in the last few decades, untreated wastewater from industrial zones, craft villages and residential areas has seriously polluted the irrigation system.
Dr Nguyễn Trung Dũng from Water Resources University said the pollution was mainly caused by wastewater from industrial complexes of Sài Đồng A, Sài Đồng B, Đức Giang and residential areas along the Cầu Bây River in Hà Nội’s Long Biên and Gia Lâm District.
According to Hưng Yên Province’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, more than 30 factories in the province release wastewater into Bắc Hưng Hải irrigation system. Most of the factories operate in garment sector, food processing or steel production and release untreated wastewater.
As part of the irrigation system, many canals running through residential areas in Hưng Yên Province are polluted, blackened, reeking and filled with garbage.
Nguyễn Quý Chúc, a resident in Tân Quang Commune in the province’s Văn Lâm District said that Đình Dù Canal used to be clean enough for people to swim in but now, it was filled with garbage and black water.
Chúc said that polluted water was still used to water crops.
“We really want agencies to take actions to save the river,” Chúc told the Vietnam News Agency.
Bùi Minh Tuấn, deputy director of Bắc Hưng Hải Ltd Company which manages the irrigation system, asked for the co-operation of local authorities, environment departments and police in detecting and punishing polluters.
He said that the agriculture ministry should consider investing in works to control the quality of water in canals.
Dũng from Water Resources University said that water pollution in suburban irrigation systems and in Bắc Hưng Hải system in particular had been increasing and posed big challenges to agriculture.
To reduce pollution, Dũng suggested Hưng Yên Province dredge and clean canals.
A surveillance system should be installed to assess the quality of water in the canals, he added.
People living along the canals must be more aware of the need to keep the environment clean and not throw garbage in the canals.
Dũng said that Hà Nội should build wastewater treatment works in Long Biên District to better treat urban wastewater. — VNS