Rivers die as policymakers dawdle

VietNamNet Bridge - While rivers have been dying day after day due to pollution, policymakers are still busy discussing how to control pollution.


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Rivers have been dying day after day due to pollution, policymakers are still busy discussing how to control pollution.

The water supply plant No 1 in Son La City, in charge of providing clean water to 60 percent of the city’s dwellers, halted the water supply six times since 2012. This was because the Bo Ca River, which provides input water to the plant, was seriously polluted. 

Bo Ca has become polluted because of people’s activities of preliminarily processing coffee on the upper course.

There are 11,700 hectares of coffee growing in the province. Son La’s people have been growing coffee for the past few years. They are happy with the cultivation because coffee has helped to improve their lives. 

However, the rudimentary coffee processing has been killing the local water sources. Coffee bean peels and waste water, which do not have any treatment, have been stored in ditches dug by local households located near the processing workshops. When it rains, the waste water from the ditches will overflow to Bo Ca River, thus causing serious pollution to the lower course area.

The Environment Protection Law and the Water Natural Resource Law only set principal regulations, but the enforceability of such provisions is not ensured.

Local authorities understand the problem, but they cannot deal with it because the laws do not mention what to do in this case. An official of the local environment protection sub-department said current laws do not mention water pollution control. 

Meanwhile, the Water Natural Resource Law only stipulates the standards of waste water to be discharged to water sources. But in this case, the waste does not go directly to the water sources.

Nguyen Ngoc Ly, director of CECR, an environment research center, after relating the story at a workshop held on December 8, affirmed that there was no regulation for agencies to refer to deal with the case.

The surveys by the Clean Water Alliance all showed that the water source pollution (river, stream, lake and pond) in Vietnam may be beyond control.

“Most of the rivers, especially small ones, are seriously polluted,” Ly said, attributing this to the strong urbanization and industrialization process which began 20 years ago. 

Meanwhile, both the Environment Protection Law and the Water Natural Resource Law only set principal regulations, but the enforceability of such provisions is not ensured.

“The regulations on water source pollution control are so ‘general’ and ‘vague’ that executive bodies don’t know who does what or and what to do,” Ly commented.

Ly thinks that the task of the water source pollution control is to prevent pollution on the shores before pollutants reach water sources.

The Clean Water Alliance and experts believe that it is necessary to build a separate law to prevent and control water source pollution.


Lan Viet


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