To Lich River in Hanoi has been severely polluted. Photo courtesy of Nguoi Lao Dong
All of Hanoi's urban lakes and waterways are heavily polluted, according to recent research.
The Ho Chi Minh City-based Institute for Environmental Science and Development said it found water pollution in the capital has grown steadily worse, Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper reported.
“No single spot in any of the rivers within the city area can be classified as Type 1 (meaning no or light pollution),” Nguoi Lao Dong quoted the findings as saying.
To Lich, one of the city's biggest rivers, takes on thousands of cubic meters of waste water a day.
Despite various efforts to improve the river’s condition (e.g. infusing it with water from the Red River) the continuous discharge of sewage has nearly rendered it a “dead river,” the researchers found.
Nguyen Thi Ai, who runs a small café in front of her riverfront home, said the river stinks “annoyingly” both on hot summer days and after a significant rain.
The river is black and full of garbage every day.
“My shop should be seeing good business on these hot days but the terrible smell keeps customer traffic low, mostly strangers,” Ai said.
Nguyen Van Toan in Nam Tu Liem District, said the water from the Nhue River has become so dirty he uses tap water to feed his plants.
Major lakes in the city including the largest natural one, West Lake, are also polluted.
The institute’s research found that Hanoi's rivers and lakes receive millions of cubic meters of waste water a day from small factories, private homes and small farms and predicted that waste discharge will climb to 440,934 cubic meters a day in 2020.
One researcher warned that it's possible water pollution will drastically accelerate in the near future.
“This is an urgent call for the protection and recovery of water quality in Hanoi.”
Starting in 2009, Hanoi's Environment and Natural Resources Department launched a number of waterway conservation efforts but, so far, they've had little impact.
Ta Ngoc Son, deputy head of the Project Management and Communication Unit at Hanoi Environment Protection Department, said that some lakes have become transparent again while others have shown little to no signs of improvement.
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