In order to prevent the pollution for river valleys and minimize the sources that cause pollution, it’s necessary to control the water quality with the water monitoring systems. Meanwhile, there are very few such systems.
The surface water of rivers, streams, ponds and lakes is quite rich, but it has been threatened by the depletion and pollution. Meanwhile, the environmental monitoring network is very poor, which badly affects the works of collecting and managing information and data to serve the management over the valuable natural resource.
Vietnam has a dense network of rivers which accounts for about two percent of the total flow of the rivers in the world. The 13 major river systems alone cover an area of 10,000 square meters.
However, the water resources are facing big challenges, including the depletion and the pollution in a wide scale.
Nearly all the major rivers in Vietnam, including the Red River in Hanoi, the Cam River in Hai Phong, Lam River in Nghe An, Huong River in Hue City, Han River in Da Nang, Saigon River in HCM City, Tien River in Tien Giang and Hau River in Can Tho, have the pollution levels exceeding the allowed levels by 1.5-3 times.
The most serious pollution can be found at the valleys of the Cau, Nhue-Day and the Dong Nai river systems.
Most of the rivers, lakes and canals in the inner city have the organic pollutants exceeding the maximum allowable limits for Class B water by 2-6 times. The coastal water in Vietnam is also seeing the pollution level increasing. The grease concentrations in the sea water of the Cua Luc area, near the Bai Chay Bridge in Quang Ninh province have reached the alarming rate.
The “culprits” that cause pollution at rivers’ valleys are the agricultural activities, industrial production, the operation of craft villages, and the aquaculture and seafood processing activities. The city’s domestic waste has also made the rivers’ water dirtier.
The domestic waste water and industrial production water have been discharged directly to the rivers without any treatment. In most cases, the violations of the environment protection law were only discovered after the violators caused serious consequences.
Monitoring systems can help, but…
In order to prevent the pollution for river valleys and minimize the sources that cause pollution, it’s necessary to control the water quality with the water monitoring systems.
In recent years, state management agencies have implemented a lot of monitoring programs, while paying the special attention to the monitoring of the quality of continental surface water, groundwater and coastal water. The monitoring programs at the Cau River, Nhue River, Dong Nai, Ma, Tien and Hau rivers have also been implemented.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has promulgated national technical standards on the management over the surface, underground water, coastal water, domestic waste water and industrial waste water. In some localities, water monitoring programs have been carried out 2-4 times a year.
However, the water monitoring system still has problems. There are only four stations for monitoring and analyzing continental surface water environment, three radiation monitoring stations with 287 monitoring sites in 18 provinces and cities in total and the frequency of 4-6 times a year. There are five monitoring stations and analysis of seawater at 132 monitoring sites with the frequency of four times a year. The numbers of stations and the frequency are clearly too low if compared with the dense network of rivers in Vietnam.
The number of monitoring stations is not sufficient to control the quality of the surface water across the country.
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