A corner of Hoan Kiem (Returned Sword) Lake in Hanoi. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhat Anh

The proposal was made to address areas around the lake that have seen various degrees of subsidence and breaking up over the past few years. Details are on display at an exhibition being held by the lake at the Ho Guom Cultural Information Centre to collect feedback from residents and experts. The exhibition started last week and will run until tomorrow.

Under the project, the city will build an embankment around the lake’s banks using precast concrete blocks. Each hollow block will be 2.5 metres in height and 1.6 metres in width.

The embankment would be painted in a mossy-green to match its surroundings, with gaps to grow aquatic plants, the Hà Nội Mới (New Hà Nội) online newspaper reported.

Vu Hai Bang of Hang Gai Ward in Hoan Kiem District, who has lived in Hanoi for more than 60 years, said: “I vote yes for the project.”

It would make the landscape around the icon of Hanoi more clean and beautiful, he said.

“Building the embankment using concrete blocks makes sense because they are durable,” Bang said.

However, the constructors should try to avoid causing negative impacts on the lake's surroundings because there were a lot of historical sites nearby, he added.

Pham Duy Quang of Hai Ba Trung District said infrastructure around the lake had been degraded for years.

“I hope the project will be commenced as soon as possible,” he said.

The project would improve the landscape around the lake and ensure more safety for visitors walking around it, he said.

Pham Hoang Ha, a resident living near the lake, said the subsidence had occurred at spots popular among elderly people who did their morning exercises there, and where young people took photos.

“Infrastructure improvements should be harmony with the lake’s ancient style,” he said.

Pham Thanh Tung, chief of the Vietnam Association of Architects, also said he is in favour of the project.

The method of using hollow concrete blocks had been in use in many other countries, he said.

The concrete blocks would be made from special materials suitable for Hoan Kiem Lake, and there would still be space for aquatic plants, he said.

The city's administration should quickly implement the project because the lake was among the top destinations for tourists, he said.

However, there are a considerable number of people who did not agree with the project because they thought the concrete embankment would ruin the landscape.

In response, Tran Trung Sinh of Hoan Kiem District’s project management board said the project would balance between long-term sustainability and beauty.

Vu Hai Bang at the exhibition in Hanoi. — Photo hanoimoi.com.vn

Sinh also said construction would take place between 10pm and 5am to minimise the unwanted effects on the surroundings.

Pham Tuan Long, vice chairman of the district People’s Committee, said the concrete blocks would be embedded in the bottom of the lake to prevent subsidence.

One report said the entire embankment would be about 1,600 metres in length, including 600 metres of subsided sections.

The city is planning to build a section of the embankment before Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

Hoan Kiem Lake is surrounded by Old Quarter streets including Le Thai To and Dinh Tien Hoang on the east and Hang Khay to the south. — VNS

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