|A part of the Nhuệ River running through Thanh Trì District’ Hữu Hòa and Tả Thanh Oai communes. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đạt|
Lê Tuấn Định, deputy head of the department, said the level of pollution in the water had steadily worsened and that many stretches of the river were seriously polluted, especially during the dry season.
He said, the water quality in the Nhuệ and Đáy rivers would improve when they received water from the Hồng (Red) River.
However, statistics from the department show that the water level of the Hồng River has been low since 2003.
In the dry season, the water level in Hà Nội can only be maintained at 2m, the minimum level, only by discharging water from Thác Bà, Tuyên Quang and Hòa Bình reservoirs.
With such a low level of water, the Nhuệ river irrigation system cannot get water from the Red River through Liên Mạc sluice in the natural way.
There are times, when the water level in the Hồng River is lower than the Nhuệ River, so it is necessary to close sluice to keep water for agricultural production in the basin.
Losing this regular replenishment with water from the Hồng River and then receiving waste water from the Tô Lịch River, is the reason the Nhuệ and Đáy rivers have become seriously polluted, affecting the lives of residents living on the riverside, Định said.
The Nhuệ-Đáy river basin covers 7,665sq.km and flows through the four northern provinces of Ninh Bình, Nam Định, Hòa Bình, Hà Nam and Hà Nội City.
Analysis from the department pointed out that another main cause of pollution in the Nhuệ and Đáy rivers was untreated sewage discharge from industrial plants and handicraft villages.
The illegal dumping of household waste and construction materials also accelerated the contamination.
In an effort to protect the environment in the basin of the Nhuệ and Đáy rivers, Định said, the Hà Nội People’s Committee had implemented a project entitled Master Plan for Environmental Protection of Nhuệ-Đáy river basin by 2020.
The city authority directed agencies to build and put into operation wastewater treatment plants at heavily-polluted handicraft villages and industrial clusters, ensuring the quality of wastewater after treatment.
The Department of Natural Resource and Environment was told to co-ordinate with city departments and People’s Committee to speed up the progress of building domestic wastewater and handicraft village wastewater treatment plants, similar to those in Sơn Đồng and Vân Cảnh communes of Hoài Đức suburban District.
Several on-going dredging projects to clear the flow and projects to provide water from the Hồng River to clear the smaller streams should also be accelerated.
To enhance the effectiveness of environmental protection work, the Hà Nội Department of Natural Resources and Environment has focused on carrying out inspections and handling violations in the field of environmental protection and water resources in recent years, he said.
Last year, the department inspected 468 units and imposed administration punishment on 21 violators with total fines of more than VNĐ2.5 billion (US$110,000).
According to Định, some projects faced obstacles due to lack of funds or difficulties in site clearance. However, he said, once completed, these projects would help improve the quality of water at the basins of the Nhuệ and Đáy rivers and ensure an adequate water supply for agricultural production and livehood of people in the Hồng River Basin.
He asked the People’s Committee of Hà Nam Province to temporarily stop the exploitation and use of polluted water for agricultural production and daily life until water quality improved. — VNS