Vietnam to clean river with $4 mil mangroves project

By Mai Vong, Thanh Nien News

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A wastewater pipe from Taiwanese MSG maker Vedan dumping into the Thi Vai River in Dong Nai Province. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

Vietnam will clean up a heavily-polluted river with the help of mangroves and German experts thanks to a new US$4.13 million project.

The Thi Vai River in Dong Nai Province neighboring Ho Chi Minh City will be filtered by mangrove forests downstream in the city’s coastal district of Can Gio, thanks to a new project announced Monday by the Institute of Environment and Natural Resources at Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City and partners from the Technical University of Braunschweig.

Prof. Nguyen Van Phuoc, head of the institute, said the new method has shown effects in several countries as mangroves can absorb pollutants, especially those from the leather industries like hard metallic element chromium, which has been discharged illegally and in copious amounts into the Thi Vai by local factories.

The experts said the project will treat waste discharged from factories along the river first before pushing the pollution down to Can Gio.

The Thi Vai is a tributary of the Dong Nai River, the longest to run exclusively within Vietnam.

The results will be officially announced October next year as the project is scheduled to finish in June.

The project began in July 2012, aiming to build an environment management system for the area, taking into effect the possibly disastrous effects of climate change.

The Taiwanese MSG maker Vedan dumped 105 million liters of untreated wastewater into Thi Vai through a secret pipe system between 1994 and 2008, when the scheme was uncovered.

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