Ho Chi Minh City restores polluted canals one by one

Update: 11/09/2020
The 10-kilometre Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal running through districts 1, 3, Tan Binh, Phu Nhuan, and Binh Thanh in HCM City has become a popular place for sightseeing, taking photos and doing exercises.

Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal running through HCM City’s districts 1, 3, Tan Binh, Phu Nhuan, and Binh Thanh has become clean and green. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ

Its water has been cleaned, and trees and flowers have been grown on both banks, creating a beautiful green setting.  

It used to be the most polluted water body in the city, and one of the most foul-smelling, that people disliked going past it.

A project to improve the canal was started in 2002. An underground drainage system was built to collect and treat wastewater from households and commercial establishments.

The canal’s banks were consolidated.

The work cost nearly VNĐ8.6 trillion (US$370 million).

But now the canal has been revived and has a clean and green atmosphere to the delight of nearly 1.2 million people living around it.

On May 20 the Waterway System Management Centre said 122,000 cubic metres of mud was dredged from the canal in three phases, making the water cleaner than ever.  

The mud was dumped in city waste treatment plants.

The city is now carrying out work to restore the Sai Gon and Dong Nai Rivers and replicate the beautiful urban scene created around the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal.

The Tan Hoa-Lo Gom Canal in districts 6, Tan Phu and Tan Binh was also cleaned with the streets around it upgraded and widened from six metres to 20m, and 10 bridges rebuilt over the canal.

Wastewater from households and production establishments in a 19sq.m area around the canal is collected in a drainage system, preventing floods caused by tides and heavy rains in the Tan Hoa-Lo Gom area, which used to be a big problem, especially on Bau Cat, Au Cơ and Hoa Binh streets.

Nguyen Hung Vong of Tan Phi District told Viet Nam News: “In heavy rains Bau Cat Street used to be flooded so severely that I could not drive my motorbike. I had to move out to another district to live.”  

Many new houses and apartment buildings have now been built around the canal.

Nguyen Dinh Duc of District 6 said people’s lives there have improved and they have escaped the severe pollution.

In District 12, the second phase of the clean-up of the So Ro Canal was completed last month, with an embankment being built.

Many others such as Hàng Bàng Canal in districts 5 and 6 and A41 Canal in Tân Bình District have also been improved.

Between 2016 and 2018, the city dredged 81.2km of rivers and canals. The public was encouraged to join in dredging 193 canals, helping clear the flow of water and improve hygiene.

The city is next completing procedures to improve the Xuyen Tam and Tham Luong-Ben Cat canals. The large projects will need thousands of billions of đồng.

Under its master plan, the city will expand the drainage network from 650sq.m to 2,095sq.m by 2030. Thus, dredging canals will continue to be a priority task.

It will also remove 20,000 households living on or near canals, already relocating 1,086 of them. This year another 2,487 will be moved out.

The biggest difficulty facing urban development and water body improvement is the lack of funds.

The eight-kilometre Xuyen Tam Canal through Binh Thanh and Go Vap districts has been encroached upon by many households, leading to its narrowing and conversion into little more than a large drainage.

Cleaning it would cost around VNĐ9 trillion.

The HCM City Infrastructure Management Centre has instructed district authorities to forcibly take back encroached lands to revive canals, and pay people who live near water bodies but have land use rights to move out.

Economists suggested that the best solution to speed up canal improvement is to solicit private investment under public-private partnerships.  

The centre plans to itself inspect and prevent illegal encroachment of canals in future.

The city suffered from such encroachment at 67 sites, and, often, flooding, but resolved 34 of them.

The A41 Canal and a section of the Hy Vong Canal have been illegally occupied, leading to flooding around the busy Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Source: Viet Nam News