Heavy encroachments along canals, rivers in HCMC

Even as Ho Chi Minh City spends billions of dong to dredge and clean canals, people and businesses continue to encroach along canals and rivers to construct illegal buildings and worsen pollution by indiscriminately dumping garbage and wastewater into the water bodies.

Illegal houses built over canals block water current in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that the river and canal areas have reduced by more than 400 hectares due to illegal encroachments in the last three years.

Investor of Rivera Point apartment block in Tan Phu Ward of District 7 has filled up Ca Cam Canal to implement the project, which now leads to flooding in the area during high tide or heavy rainfall.

Binh Thanh District has recorded about 3,000 illegal housing encroachments. These have caused problems of site clearance for projects to clean up canals and curb landslides in the district.

Similarly, in districts Thu Duc, Hoc Mon, Nha Be, Cu Chi, 2, 7, 8, 9 and 12, some areas are being transgressed by upto thousands of square meters near the vicinity of canals and rivers.

Worst encroachments are long the Saigon, Vam Thuat and Cho Dem Rivers and Dia, Go Dua, Chiec, Tom and Xom Cui Canals.

Phuc Kien Khang Company has driven concrete stakes along a 41m stretch of the Saigon riverbank in Thao Dien Ward in District 2 for their own purpose. Several houses have also been illegally built near the foot of Saigon Bridge to the upper reaches of the same district.

Lien Thanh Seafood Company in Thu Duc District has encroached one 95m section along the Saigon riverbank.

A lot of restaurants have illegally sprung up along Vam Thuat River in Binh Thanh and Go Vap Districts. Operations of these facilities have polluted the water because garbage and wastewater are being dumped directly into the river.

Thousands of low roofed houses have sprouted to narrow Doi Canal in District 8. 

The Inland Waterway Management Division under the City Department of Transport has reported to district authorities an extra 163 canal encroachment cases as of June this year.

Phan Hoang Tri, Deputy Director of Inland Waterway Management Division, said that after uncovering illegal encroachments, they report to district authorities, who in turn have been most ineffective.

Tran The Ky, Deputy Director of the Department of Transport, said that local authorities have issued fines and asked violators to remove their structures from canals and rivers. However they have refused to do so, while authorized organs have no effective measures to tackle this serious issue.

Related article:
Landslides causing havoc along Saigon River in HCMC  

By Quoc Hung – Translated by Hai Mien

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