HCM CITY — Rivers and canals in HCM City have become choked with silt and rubbish while the task of dredging has not received proper funding, affecting waterway traffic activities and rainwater drainage.
Phan Hoang Tri, deputy head of the municipal Department of Transport’s Waterway Management Division, said the city had nearly 1,700km of rivers and canals.
About 700km of rivers and canals had residents living along banks and 60-70 per cent of them performed the functions of waterway transport and rainwater drainage, but they had not been dredged, Tri told Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper.
At the Tham Luong – Ben Cat Canal and Go Dua Canal, for instance, there were several deposited sections which boats and ships could not pass through, he said.
Waterway insiders said besides silt, rubbish thrown by residents living along banks and on boats was the chief reason behind the build-up of silt and deposits.
At Den Canal in Binh Tan District and the Tan Hoa – Lo Gom canals in District 6 and Binh Tan District, household waste and water hyacinth cover the surface water.
The throwing of household waste into rivers and canals has created deposits in river and canal beds, which blocks water flow and makes rivers and canals fail to perform their functions of draining rainwater for nearby residential areas.
City residents discharge about 200 tonnes of household wastes into rivers and canals a day, according to the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s Solid Waste Management Division.
Funds for dredging have been insufficient, according to the Waterway Management Division.
At present, only two projects approved by the Waterway Management Division have received funds.
For new projects this year, the city People’s Committee has not approved the allocation of investment capital.
Meanwhile, the city’s large dredging projects have been implemented slowly because of difficulties in land clearance and capital.
The ongoing project of renovating the Tham Luong – Ben Cat Canal – Nuoc Len Canal, which is 32 km long and runs through eight districts, has been suspended because of land clearance problem.
Under the schedule, the project, which would drain rainwater and prevent flooding as well as ease waterway traffic, would be completed by the end of last year.
Nguyen Trung Viet, head of the Solid Waste Management Division, said previously the city People’s Committee provided a budget for districts to dredge and collect waste on rivers and canals every year.
A few years ago, the committee stopped providing a budget for districts and assigned them to do the task with their own budgets, he said.
However, districts had not implemented the task because of the lack of funds, he said. — VNS