More than a hundred families living near the Tu Hu 1 Canal in Hau Giang Province are suffering from various diseases caused by its polluted waters, and the owners of two new fish farms are being blamed.
The canal used to be clean and its water could be used for daily activities, said Vo Thi Kim Nam, a resident of Village 8 in the southern province’s Hoa An Commune. However, it has become increasingly polluted after two fish farms were built in the area two years ago, she said.
She squarely blamed the farm’s owners, Tran Thi Giau and Ly Hiep, for discharging untreated wastewater and polluting the canal’s waters.
Nam’s family, as well as the other families in the area, have always depended on the canal’s waters for their daily life.
“The water was clean and we could even use it to cook after filtering,” Nam said.
“Now even if we use the water to have a bath, we get rashes on our skin, especially the kids. I have to boil the water now for them.”
Le Van Nhanh, 75, another resident of the commune who has lived by the canal since he was a childhood, complained about the stinking smell emanating from the canal, saying he could no longer sit and relax by it, as he used to do before.
Nhanh said residents have talked to owners of both farms, and received promises that the pollution would be removed, but nothing has changed.
Le Cong Bo, head of Village 8, said that he had many times, on behalf of the village’s residents, submitted complaints to higher authorities. Inspections have been carried out, but nothing has changed for the residents, he said.
“All we ask is that owners of these two farms have a treatment system for their wastewater before discharging it into the canal,” Bo said.
He said water samples taken from the canal have shown pollution by many substances. For instance, the portion of oil in the water was 56 times higher than allowed, he said.
Commune-level officials have not been proactive in responding to the residents’ complaints.
Vo Doan Ket, chairman of the Hoa An Commune People’s Committee, said the committee had worked with owners of the two fish farms and requested them to improve the situation.
But, when it was pointed out that there has been no improvement, he said his administration would seek intervention from higher-level authorities soon.