Many Ho Chi Minh City residents use carcinogen-laden water: lawmakers

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Ho Chi Minh City vice mayor Nguyen Huu Tin inspects water in an outlying district. Photo credit: VnExpress Ho Chi Minh City vice mayor Nguyen Huu Tin inspects water in an outlying district. Photo credit: VnExpress

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More than 358,000 households in Ho Chi Minh City do not get tap water while water samples from wells many use have tested positive for a carcinogen, according to the HCMC Preventive Health Centre.
Le Van Nhan, the center’s deputy director, said a majority of 1,400 samples obtained from wells in seven outlying districts failed to meet safety criteria due to low pH ,high iron concentration and others.
“Some samples contain microorganisms. But more dangerously, 110 samples contained ammonia.”
“Most of these wells are shallow and near polluted sources,” Nhan said Wednesday at a session of city People’s Council, the legislature.
Nguyen Thanh Chung, director of the city Department of Transport, said many families in District 12 use well water containing ammonia: “The samples were taken directly from these wells without any treatment.
“We will install pipes to [supply water to] these areas by year end.”
A recent report by the People’s Council said many residents buy unclean water for high prices of up to VND15,000 (US$0.70) per cubic meter.
A council resolution said tap water should be supplied to all 1.8 million households in the city.
But a lawmaker, Than Thi Thu, said the target would be difficult to achieve.
“I am too afraid of meeting my constituents because are questions [about tap water] I don’t know how to answer. My term is almost over and I have done nothing. I don’t know how other deputies feel, but I personally feel very ashamed.”
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, another deputy, expressed doubts about the quality of tap water too.
“We need to test the water in all 17 districts without tap water to have an overall evaluation.”

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