The water in the Dong Nai River has been seriously polluted with untreated wastewater discharged by thousands of factories, industrial parks, and residential areas along its banks.
The 586km river, which is considered the longest in Vietnam, runs through eleven provinces and cities, including Ninh Thuan Province and Binh Thuan Province in the south-central region; Dak Nong Province and Lam Dong Province in the Central Highlands; Binh Phuoc Province, Binh Duong Province, Tay Ninh Province, Dong Nai Province, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, Long An Province, and Ho Chi Minh City in the south.
“The Dong Nai River has been terribly polluted,” Colonel Duong Van Linh, vice head of the central environmental police department, exclaimed at a meeting on Friday between the environmental protection committee and representatives from the eleven localities.
The entire river receives over a million cubic meters of wastewater discharged every day by 4,500 residential areas, factories, industrial parks, craft villages, farms, and hospitals in the locales, Col. Linh added.
Numerous factories have been discovered dumping wastewater directly into the river.
The factories either have no waste treatment plant or fail to operate it.
“Residential areas alone discharge 990,000 cubic meters of untreated wastewater a day,” according to the environmental police department.
The pollution is worsened by excessive sand mining from the bottom of the river, causing a change in the water flow and erosion along its banks.
Some projects to dredge the river bed in order to clear maritime passage have been turned into ones meant to merely mine sand for sale.
It is the environmental pollution that has led to fish dying en masse and fish farms suffering great losses.
Tran Van Nam, chairman of the People’s Committee of Binh Duong Province, suggested “completely banning the dredging of the Dong Nai River bed because it can change the water flow.”
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Minh Quang concluded the meeting by saying that Vietnam has no policy to attract investment at the cost of the environment.
He asked law enforcement agencies to tighten checks to prevent further damage to the living environment and the water source of the river.