Underground water pollution reaches alarming levels
VietNamNet Bridge - The underground water in most of the large urban areas in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi and HCMC, is polluted due to rapid urbanization, according to the General Directorate of Environment.

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A report shows that 80 percent of diseases in developing countries have causes related to water sources and environment. Vietnam reports 9,000 death cases and 200,000 infected cancer cases with reasons related to water sources.

Contaminated water is the cause for the outbreak of epidemics such as diarrhea, polio, parasitic worms, encephalitis and trachoma. Heavy metals in water can cause long-term problems to users. 

Meanwhile, it is difficult to discover the water samples with iron and manganese content exceeding the permitted level. It can only be recognized thanks to the residue at the bottom of water tanks or pipelines. The residue levels allowed by agencies are now 0.3 mg/l for iron and 0.5 mg/l for manganese.

The Center for Monitoring and forecasting of water resources, an arm of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE), released the report on the monitoring of underground water in the Red and Mekong River Deltas and Central Highlands, showing that the underground water is declining, while the water quality cannot meet standards in many areas.

In Red River Delta, the underground water level has decreased, especially in Mai Dich of Cau Giay district in Hanoi. In dry season, all seven water samples were found as having an ammonium concentration higher than the permitted level.

In Red River Delta, the underground water level has decreased, especially in Mai Dich of Cau Giay district in Hanoi. In dry season, all seven water samples were found as having an ammonium concentration higher than the permitted level.

A report of UNICEF shows that the most arsenic contaminated area is in the southern part of Hanoi. In Quoc Oai district, the arsenic content was three times higher than the permitted level. 

Scientists believe that water contains arsenic because people overuse fertilizer and pesticides. They also attributed this to the drilling of water wells, which has led to uncontrolled use of underground water.

In general, one water well is used by tens of households, while waste impurities near the drilled areas may have absorbed into underground water layers, thus causing pollution.

In HCMC, as many city’s dwellers still cannot access tap water, they have to use alternative water sources, including rainwater and underground water. However, the water does not meet safety standards.

Dan Tri quoted a report from the HCMC Preventive Healthcare Center as saying that 91.13 percent of households in HCMC now have tap water.

A survey found that nearly all the water samples from households’ wells had low pH level, while 41.62 percent of samples could not satisfy standards, while the ammonium concentration was higher than the permitted level (9.14 percent).

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Mai Thanh

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