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Rescuing rivers: measures will fail if public refuses to cooperate

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Local authorities have spent big money to rescue polluted rivers, but the problem has not been settled as pollution continues to reappear after cleanup efforts.

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The Cau River has got polluted


The waste from rapidly growing craft villages and industrial zones in Bac Ninh province, for example, has polluted Cau and Ngu Huyen rivers. 

According to the Cau River Basin Environment Protection Committee, there are 48 operational IZs on the river basin, 84 industrial workshop clusters, 141 craft villages, 246 healthcare units and 3,500 industrial state-owned and private enterprises.

The waste mostly comes from production and business activities (66.88 percent), IZs (6.23 percent), craft villages (24.25 percent) and medical establishments (0.64 percent). 

Of 62 craft villages in Bac Ninh, 39 have waste affecting the areas near Cau River, including Tien Du, Yen Phong districts, Tu Son Town and Bac Ninh City. 

The Phong Khe paper recycled craft village discharges 10,000 cubic meters per day. Khac Niem village, which specializes in making vermicelli, produces 3,500 cubic meters of waste each day. 

Meanwhile, Phu Lam paper recycling village 4,000 cubic meters, and the alcohol village of Dai Lam 2,500 cubic meters.

As for heavy recycling villages, such as Da Hoi steel and Van Mon aluminum, the waste is mostly solid waste and water used to cool machines.

Environmental experts warn that water sources in craft villages are seriously polluted due to toxic inorganic compounds such as acids, bases, salts, and heavy metals from mechanical engineering and dyeing activities.

These substances not only affect surface water sources, but also groundwater. They reduce the volume of dissolved oxygen in water, affecting the habitat of aquatic plants and animals, polluting water sources and causing disease among local people.

Annual environmental monitoring reports all confirm that the pollutant concentrations in water are much higher than the permitted levels.

In Phong Khe village, for example, the BOD5 concentration is 10-20 times higher than the Vietnamese standards, while COD concentration is higher by 15-24 times. In Khac Niem vermicelli village, the COD concentration is higher by 9-15 times.

In 2006, the Cau River Basin Environment Protection Committee was established under a PM decision. The committee includes members from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and high ranking officials from other ministries and local authorities. A master plan on protecting and developing the Cau River basin was drawn up.

However, nothing has improved over the last 12 years. The waste water treatment plants in Bac Ninh province cannot run at full capacity as they are still under construction.



Source: Thien Nhien - VietNamNet

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