HCMC to conclude canal cleanup within November

By Gia Minh   November 12, 2020 | 04:57 pm PT
HCMC to conclude canal cleanup within November
Barges remove sludge and other waste from the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal in District 1, HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh.
The cleanup of Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal, which commenced February with a budget of over VND36 billion ($1.5 million), is expected to complete this month.

The cleanup project aimed at removing around 122,000 cubic meters of sludge and other waste. The project was split into three separate phases, each lasting around 75 days. The first two, occurring along sections from Ut Tich Street in Tan Binh District to Le Van Sy Bridge, spanning three kilometers, have already been completed, helping clear the waterway and reduce pollution.

The final segment of the canal, spanning six kilometers from Le Van Sy Bridge in District 3 to the Saigon River, would have its sludge removed using barges and effective microorganisms (EMs) within November, Pham Ngoc Dung, director of the Management Center of Waterway System under the HCMC Department of Transport, said Wednesday.

EMs would be used to decompose organic waste and remove associated odor, limiting the impact on surrounding neighborhoods, he added.

"All sludge in the canal is expected to be removed within November, which exceeds the previous expectation of mid-December," Dung said, adding the removed sludge would be transferred to Da Phuoc Waste Treatment Complex for processing.

The canal, which spans nearly nine kilometers through Districts 1, 3, Phu Nhuan, Tan Binh and Binh Thanh before joining the Saigon River, was a lush river during the 19th century before it turned black in the 1960s following southward migration in the wake of the Vietnam War.

Several cleanup efforts were carried out in the past, before a grand resurrection project worth more than $200 million in World Bank support proceeded between 2003 and 2012.

But regular dumping still threatens the canal even now. Over 14 tons of waste, mostly plastic, animal carcasses and plants like water hyacinth, are released into the canal every day. Incidents of mass fish death have been reported in recent years.

Saigon authorities have tried several methods to reduce pollution in the canal, including unblocking water flow, oxygenating water and monitoring water quality.

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