HCMC struggles to control surface water pollution sources

In the program on environmental pollution reduction in the phase of 2016-2020, HCMC sets a target of 90 percent reduction in surface water pollution. For the last past, the city has implemented lots of solutions such as dredging rivers and canals, calling residents not to discharge waste into canals but it is unlikely to obtain the target because of many difficulties.

The Binh Hung Hoa domestic wastewater treatment plant

The Binh Hung Hoa domestic wastewater treatment plant

A recent water test at 21 locations throughout Saigon - Dong Nai river system, done by HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment, showed that all water samples met domestic supply standards number QCVN 08-MT:2015/BTNMT.

Sampled water at areas where dredging and urban renovation works took place such as Nhieu Loc - Thi Nghe canal also indicated improved quality.

Meanwhile, canals and rivers that lie between various provinces and regions still show signs of heavy microbiological pollution, oxygen depletion and suspended matter.

Experts said HCMC can meet the quota on wastewater treatment systems for industrial and hospital waste by 2020, as well as improve the water quality at inter-provincial canals by relocating residents and work more closely with local authorities.

However, the government’s plan to cut pollutant discharge by 90 percent might fall through, since it is impossible to reach 80 percent treated urban wastewater.

Many manufacturers currently have some kind of environmental treatment solution in place but mostly small-scale, and some are short-term businesses that do not plan to expand further.

The Director of HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment suggests that the city continue to raise awareness on environmental protection and better enforce current laws among local communities.

Companies should also be encouraged to use advanced equipment and technologies to minimize waste. He also thinks the water quality monitoring network should be expanded, and an environmental database be established.

Local authorities are prompted to monitor wastewater treatment in manufacturing facilities, as well as request companies without proper treatment solutions to invest in standard-quality systems.

As it stands, waterways throughout HCMC are burdened with thousands of tons of waste and large amounts of untreated wastewater. Despite the city heavily investing in canal protection every year, surface water quality will hardly be improved if people’s awareness on environmental protection is not raised.

By Minh Hai - Translated by Tan Nghia

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