HCM CITY — All canals in HCM City are heavily polluted by domestic and industrial waste water, according to a newly issued report from the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Testing of environmental criteria for suspended substances, BOD (biodiversity oxygen demand), COD (chemical oxygen demand) and coliform showed a rate 1,000 times higher than the allowed level. The pollution is worse when the tide is low.
Bui Thanh Tam Phuong of the department’s Environment Management Division said many facilities operating in the city did not have waste water treatment and released their waste directly into the canal system.
The city has moved a number of polluting facilities from residential areas to industrial zones. But those facilities have set up phony waste water treatment systems, which have fooled management agencies.
When the agency asks them to build new treatment systems, they contend that there are no spare land plots or that they have insufficient capital.
Nguyen The Dong, deputy director of the General Department of Environment, was quoted by Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper as saying that laws on environmental protection has many loopholes, leading to an increasing number of environmental violations.
Part of the problem is that too many agencies are taking part in overseeing the regulations, and as a result, criteria and penalties have been issued differently by agencies.
In addition to environmental police and inspectors from environmental agencies, industrial zones and local authorities also have the right to set up teams to discover violations, according to Dong.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has just decided to fine the Dak Lak-based Ea Pok Coffee Company VND91 million (US$4,530) for discharging untreated wastewater with high levels of toxic substances into the environment. — VNS