A park project in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta has sparked concern among local residents for blatantly encroaching on a large area of a river, as it may cause the riverbank to collapse anytime.
For the past six months, people in Cai Lay and Cai Be Districts, Tien Giang Province, have been worried by the construction of a fruit park as it will take up a considerable portion of a local waterway.
Locals and experts fear that the project would cause changes to the natural torrent of the river, resulting in subsidence in nearby areas.
According to Nguyen Hoang Thao, director of the Management Board of Investment and Construction Projects in Cai Be District, which is the developer of the park, the venue covers an area of about 9.78 hectares.
About 6.8 hectares of the water at the confluence of the Tien (Front) River and Cai Be River will be reclaimed, requiring 695,399 cubic meters, or 434,618 metric tons, of sand, Thao elaborated.
An 800-meter long embankment has been formed to facilitate this process.
|An 800-meter long embankment has been formed to prepare for the filling. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The project developer is optimistic that the construction will not affect the flow of the river as it is located at a shallow section, about 1,278 to 1,294 meters deep.
Some 54,149 square meters of the reclaimed land will be preserved for a green tree park and fruit garden, Thao said.
The garden will be used to grow several species of grapefruit, mango, orange, guava, and others, he added.
Diners, cafés, and other tourism and service facilities will be constructed on another 13,000 square meters of the land.
The rest of the area is designed for traffic infrastructure and parking lots.
Nguyen Van Tung, 63, owner of the Nam On resort on Tan Phong Islet, Cai Lay District, said that the construction of the fruit park would cause subsidence in the downstream area of the Tien River, where his resort is situated.
The water flow has significantly changed in the past six months since the developer started filling up the waterway.
The torrent has become stronger, while the water along the bank is now much deeper, Tung said.
According to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, many houses on Tan Phong Islet have already been damaged and abandoned due to severe land collapse brought about by excessive sand mining.
Therefore, local residents fear that the park project will exacerbate the problem.
|A house on Tan Phong Islet is abandoned due to previous subsidence. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent expert on the ecology of the Mekong Delta, river encroachment definitely causes torrents to change.
Not only Tan Phong Islet but also the park will be impacted by subsidence, Thien continued.
Dr. Duong Van Ni, from the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources of Can Tho University, located in the namesake Mekong Delta city, aired a similar opinion.
“If local authorities organize a conference, scientists and experts are willing to confer on the matter,” Ni added.
Tran Thanh Duc, chairman of the Tien Giang People’s Committee, told Tuoi Tre that the administration would order competent agencies to deal with the subsidence issue.
The project developer has been requested to ensure that the implementation will not harm the local environment.
|A Tan Phong Islet resident stands where her previous house was destroyed by subsidence. Photo: Tuoi Tre|