Nov 7, 2012

Vietnam - HCM City: Industrial production drives rice fields to death

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VietNamNet Bridge – Farmers in the districts of Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon and Cu Chi complain that they have to leave land uncultivated or keep agricultural production at a moderate level, because the water sources have become seriously polluted.

Ten years ago, yellow rice fields and green vegetable gardens were seen everywhere in Hoc Mon or Binh Chanh districts in the suburbs of HCM City. However, the rice fields and vegetable gardens have disappeared, which have been replaced with the deserted land with waste water.

Nguiyen Van Than from Vinh Loc A commune of Binh Chanh district said that the land has become useless, because it cannot be sold or cultivated.

“Some years ago, I could have two rice crops and harvested 4 tons of rice per crop. However, I cannot earn any more money from the land, since there is no water for the production.

Showing to big puddles, Than said: “This is the waste water which cannot be used for agricultural production. It is now the rainy season, so you can see much water. However, in dry season, there would be no water to use. The canals that bring water to rice fields have turned black and polluted.

It is true that the canals in the Vinh Loc area have become the sewers for waste water, which have been hooded with weeds, while the canal water has turned black, stinking smell.

Reports say that six out of the 15 industrial zones have had waste water treatment systems. However, inspection tours have found out that the waste concentrations here exceeded the permitted levels by 2-40 times.

A lot of industrial zones have been discovered as discharging waste water and causing environment pollution, including the Cat Lai 2, Hiep Phuoc, Tan Tao, Tan Thoi Hiep.

There are 28 industrial zones in Binh Duong province with the total area of 8700 hectares, of which 21 zones have become operational with the total industrial waste water of 49,000 cubic meters per day.

Competent agencies have found out that 14 out of the 21 industrial zones in the province discharged waste water with the concentrations of toxic substances exceeding the permitted levels.

The Binh Duong, Song Than 2, Tan Dong Hiep A, Tan Dong Hiep B have been added into the black list of the competent agencies.

Meanwhile, Binh Duong province is adjacent to HCM City, which means that when the industrial zones in the province discharges waste water, HCM City would suffer.

An official of the management agency said that in order to escape from the watch of the police, enterprises always discharge untreated water directly to the environment in the evening or at night. Especially, rains and high tide can lend a hand to them to discharge water through canals and streams.

The HCM City environment police said that 100 percent of textile and dyeing enterprises reportedly violated the environment protection law. Especially, the Thai Tuan Group in 2011 was discovered as discharging thousands of cubic meters of untreated waste water to the environment a day.

Luong Minh Thao, Deputy Head of C49, the environment police department, said when the police examined 10 enterprises, they found six causing the environment pollution. Some of theme not only discharge waste water in the evening, but on the daylight as well.

Thao said though the pollution is serious, the police only have the right to impose the fine of 10 million dong at maximum when discovering violations. Therefore, some enterprises would rather pay punishment – a small sum of money – rather than spending big money on building up waste water treatment systems.

Tin Tuc

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