VietNamNet Bridge - The pollution on Sai Gon River has become worse over the years as increasing industrialisation along the river bank threatens the main water source of HCM City.
The river flows through 40 industrial parks in Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh provinces and HCM City. Only 21 of them have an industrial waste treatment system.
Most of the treated water released from facilities does not meet the quality required by environmental authorities.
The Sai Gon River also is polluted by industrial and agricultural waste water from small-sized enterprises operating along the river, amounting to 65,000 cubic metres a day.
In addition, every day the river receives over 748,000 cubic metres of waste water, discharged from residential areas in localities, with more than 90 per cent of the waste water coming from HCM City.
Lam Minh Triet, head of the Institute for Water and Environmental Technology, said that a regular test on the river's water had shown that its pollution had exceeded Vietnamese standards many times, especially water taken from the HCM City section.
Only one waste water treatment plant has been built along the river valley, the Binh Hung Waste Water Treatment Factory in Binh Chanh District.
It is designed to treat 141,000 cubic metres of waste water daily.
An expert said that with the limited number of waste water treatment plants, less than 20 per cent of household waste water was collected and treated, with the rest discharged directly into the river.
The river pollution is also at a serious level in neighbouring Binh Duong Province, where many production businesses are located.
Tran Thanh Quang, deputy head of the province's Environment Protection Bureau, said last year his agency fined 555 enterprises a total of VND12.6 billion (US$583,000) for violating environmental regulations.
The province has more than 5,000 enterprises, fewer than 20 per cent of them satisfy environmental standards.
Test results in the province show that pollution has increased.
In order to deal with the river's pollution," Triet proposed the establishment of an agency that would manage the Sai Gon River.
Personnel from related provinces as well as HCM City People's Committee and representatives from Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment would be involved in the agency's work.
The agency would be responsible for conducting water tests and inspections.
He also suggested that 13 major projects worth VND1.7 trillion ($82million) be deployed between 2011 and 2015 to improve polluted water in the river. These projects would treat water at industrial parks or dredge canals.
Triet and other scientists warned that if pollution continued unchecked, the river could become a dead river. He said the city should take serious steps to prevent river pollution.