|Local residents catch fish on Kim Ngưu River in July, 2018. After an earlier flood, fish in city ponds followed the flow to the river. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam|
HÀ NỘI — A number of senior architects have objected to plans to build sewer system into Kim Ngưu River, one of the most polluted in the city.
With seven sewers discharging household wastewater into it every kilometre, water in the 7.7km Kim Ngưu River has a black colour and smells bad.
A Vietnamese construction company in August proposed a plan to revive the river by improving water quality in a 1.2km section of it, starting from Trần Khát Chân Street to the Mai Động Bridge in the city’s inner district of Hai Bà Trưng.
R&D Planners suggested divided the river into two layers: the riverbed, where a system of underground sewers will be built to collect wastewater, and the surface water which retains rainwater and treated wastewater.
While agreeing that improving the river’s water quality will benefit thousands of residents living nearby, at a recent conference in Hà Nội, experts opposed the construction of a concrete sewer system on the riverbed.
Dr Nguyễn Quốc Thông, president of the Việt Nam Association of Architects, said: “I don’t agree with building such a system since I think a river should have a natural riverbed, and an ecosystem that consists of mud, soil, algae and plants.
“The most important principle is to turn the river back to its natural state rather than into something man-made.
“We should definitely find ways to treat underground wastewater, but not with a concrete riverbed.”
Tô Anh Tuấn, former director of the Hà Nội Department of Planning and Architecture, said the river has a historical significance and should be treated as a cultural construction within the city.
“The Kim Ngưu River, together with the Tô Lịch, Lừ and Sét rivers, is associated with the city’s history. So it is not simply a place where water drains to,” he said.
“We should solve the pollution problems of these rivers and restore their original practical and historical values, not building sewerage in them or filling or removing them.”
The polluted condition of the river has affected residential areas nearby. The overall landscape of the area has degraded; its levels of social infrastructure and commercial services have gotten below the city’s average.
In an attempt to improve these factors, R&D Planners has proposed to renovate areas on two sides of the rivers by building commercial centres, automatic parking spaces and other entertainment facilities. However that too was objected by experts.
Phạm Sỹ Liêm, former Deputy Minister of Construction, said building more high-rise buildings in the surrounding areas will obscure the view of the river. “They will turn the river into a series of ponds,” he said.
Dr Nguyễn Quốc Thông from the Việt Nam Association of Architects said the proposal should focus more on the communities living near the river. Priority should be given to these communities because the area severely lacks public spaces and has a moderate number of public buildings, he said.
“The project should take into great consideration the relations between the river and its surrounding areas such as Lò Đúc Street where traffic density is always high, or Tuổi Trẻ Park, or the March 8 old apartment buildings, or the Quỳnh Mai Market,” he said.
“Only then can the project owner identify the needs and demands of local residents and plan more effectively.” — VNS