Last update 2/20/2012 3:56:00 PM (GMT+7)

Mekong tributary becomes sewer

VietNamNet Bridge – The section of Tien River, which is one of two main branches of the Cuu Long (Mekong) River running through Viet Nam, is heavily polluted by daily and industrial waste.

Illustrative image.
Residents who live on the riverbanks said seafood processing factories bordering the river discharge untreated waste water into the river, according to a report by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper. The polluted portion of the river is located in the provinces of Dong Thap, Vinh Long, Tien Giang.

Nguyen Van Thu, a resident in Tien Giang Province's Song Thuan Commune, said processed-fish waste can sometimes be seen floating on the river.

"We get itchy spots on the skin after swimming in the river," he said.

Nguyen Van Tu, a fisherman of 20 years experience on the river, said he had noticed fewer natural fish in the river.

According to the departments of natural resources and environment of Tien Giang and Vinh Long provinces, tests showed that the water contains suspended solids and iron over allowed level, while the COD (chemical oxygen demand) and BOD5 (biological oxygen demand) are lower than normal.

Tests by the Dong Thap department showed that harmful chemicals were in the water.

Luu Minh Manh, director of the department of environmental protection in Tien Giang Province, said the province's My Tho City discharges each day about 50,000 cubic metres of untreated waste water into the river.

In Dong Thap, many farmers who raise fish did not comply with waste water treatment requirements and released untreated waste from their ponds directly into the river, according to the natural resources and environment division of Tan Hong District.

The water has also been polluted by industrial waste water from nearby industrial zones and pesticide overuse by farmers.

Manh said the My Tho City should develop proper waste water treatment and educate residents about waste prevention. Locals often dump waste directly into the river.

Nguyen Van Hai, head of the Dong Thap Province People's Committee's office, said the province had set up a plan to check whether fish raising ponds comply with waste water treatment regulations. Many ponds in the province are located near the river.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News