HCM City People's Committee has asked related agencies to focus on dealing with canal and channel pollution and encroachment in the area.
Five canals and channels which will be the first priority are Hy Vong, Xuyen Tam, Nhay-Ruot Ngua, Bau Trau and Binh Thai canals.
The locals living along Xuyen Tam Canal in Binh Thanh District are suffering from the foul smell due to the huge amount of floating rubbish. Le Thi Thanh, a 63-year-old resident said their families were already used to it.
"We have to get used to it. We heard that the canal would be renovated but nothing has been changed for years. Rubbish is still being dumped into the water," she said.
Pham Thi Mai, a resident who lives along Hy Vong Canal said pollution and encroachment was nothing unusual. They often have to eat meals with flies swarming around.
According to the Department of Construction, they had dealt with a lot of canal encroachment cases in 2027 but as of August, 35 cases of encroachment were still reported. The residents living along Xuyen Tam Canal have encroached upon the canal and built a lot of toilets which discharge directly into the environment. The encroachment issue has posed many difficulties for public infrastructure planning or fire safety design.
"We did build onto the canal but if the authorities want to remove it then we are willing to dismantle the illegal part. We also want the canal to be clean and clear again," said Nguyen Van Hung.
Statistics from the Department of Transport show that encroachment cases have decreased from 360 cases in 2014 to 75 cases in 2017.
Localities authorities were asked to work together to completely deal with the problem, tightened inspection to prevent new violations and reports about the process would be submitted to the Department of Construction and Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
The Department of Construction, Department of Transport and Department of Agriculture and Rural Development must draft a plan to dredge the canals from now until 2020.
HCM City is now home to around 37 eroded sites along rivers and canals, including 19 that have been classified as very dangerous, according to the municipal Department of Transport.
There are about 20,000 households living along HCM City's canals and channels. The wastewater is discharged directly into the environment and causes severe pollution in Vietnam’s most populous city.