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HCM City: Water resources polluted, diseases stalking

VietNamNet Bridge - Canals inherently have a drainage function, but in HCM City, this has become one of the potentials and "resident" of dozens of diseases.

VietNamNet Bridge - Canals inherently have a drainage function, but in HCM City, this has become one of the potentials and "resident" of dozens of diseases.

Living on polluted canals

The polluted canals are mostly located in districts 5, 6, Binh Tan and Binh Chanh. A water quality test has found out that the water on the Tan Hoa – Lo Gom, Doi – Te and Tau Hu – Ben Nghe canals could not meet the physicochemical and microbiological standards.

On the Tan Hoa – Lo Gom canal system, for example, the microbiological pollution was found very serious with 100 percent of tested water samples having the coliform content higher than the allowed level by 249-361 times.

On the Tau Hu – Ben Nghe canal, the microbiological content was 31.8-101 times higher than the allowed level. In the mud collected from dredging canals, scientists found toxic waste substances including heavy metals such as chromium, arsenic, iron, lead, mercury.

Currently, Saigonese use tap water provided by water supply companies which treat the raw water from the Dong Nai and Saigon Rivers. However, the HCM City Environment Analysis and Monitoring Agency has concluded that both of the rivers have got polluted, while the situation is getting worse.

The records provided by monitoring stations show that the pH, turbidity, concentration of oil and microorganisms (coliforms, E. coli) are not up to standards. Especially, the concentrations of coliforms and E.coli in 2010-2011 measured at all the stations were higher by 1.5-9.45 times than the allowed level.

Not only the canals in the inner city, but the big rivers which provide running water to tens of millions of people have also got seriously polluted.

While the urban infrastructure system remains poor, local residents have been throwing garbage to canals and rivers every day, thus making the pollution more serious.

The HCM City Urban Environment Company reported that 9-10 tons of garbage can be picked every day from the canals in HCM City.

According to Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh from the HCM City Center for Anti-flooding Works, the city now has 2000 kilometers of canals for water drainage and 800 sewers. However, the water drainage system has been neutralized by the people’s habit of throwing garbage into any places they can.

Epidemics lurking

In early 2012, a cholera outbreak was discovered after tens of people living on the Te canal contracted the disease.

The HCM City Prevention Medical Center has many times warned that the polluted canals have spread out the germs, badly affecting people’s health, especially women and children.

It has stressed that the diseases in the community which relate to the polluted water resources have been increasing rapidly in recent years.

Dr. Hoang Thi Ngoc Ngan from the HCM City Prevention Medical Center said the water quality has a close relation to the community’s health. Especially, the diseases caused by chemical substances do not cause diseases immediately, but the toxin would be accumulated for a long time in bodies, thus causing chronic dangerous diseases.

Dr. Nguyen Dac Tho also said that the garbage thrown into canals such as plastic bags and the products made of plastics cannot be fully disposed and they would become the ideal environment for insects to live and transmit germs.

Compiled by C. V



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