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Coastal cities struggle to save beaches from wastewater pollution

16 May 2019 | 09:34:00 AM

Boasting some of the best beaches in Vietnam, Nha Trang, Danang and Phu Quoc are now under threat of pollution from wastewater following fast tourism growth.

Wastewater spill out to the beach in Danang City on May 8

Authorities in the southern coastal city of Nha Trang on May 9 had to deal with a large amount of blackish wastewater running to some beaches near Hon Chong Beach and Ha Ra residential area after a heavy rain which lasted two hours.

Nguyen Sy Khanh, vice chairman of Nha Trang City People's Committee said due to heavy rains, the pump stations in the area were overloaded and the wastewater had spilt out. They would dredge the canal to deal with the problem and check the sewage system in Ha Ra residential area.

According to Nguyen Van Dam, director of Khanh Hoa Water Supply And Sewerage JSC, when the discharge sewer was opened at Hon Chong Beach, the planners hadn't thought about the rise of hotels and apartments in this area so the sewer had become overloaded.

"The drainage system was built for a small residential area, not for so many hotels and buildings," he said. "The temporary solution is to add more pumps but it's not good enough because we can't control the rainfall."

Le Tien Vinh, head of Nha Trang City's Community Services Management Board, said that with funding from the World Bank, Khanh Hoa Provincial People's Committee has carried out a project to improve the environment in the south of the Cai River.

"Wastewater from local households in the central city has been collected and properly treated," Tien said. "The environment in the northern part of the Cai River will be dealt with in the second phase of the project which is still waiting for investment of over USD70 million from the government."

Danang, which is listed as the world's most beautiful beaches have recently been seriously polluted by wastewater while the local authorities still struggling to deal with the problem.

After heavy rains on May 8-5, many beaches in Danang City turned black as a huge amount of wastewater spilt from discharge pipes. This has become a familiar scene in beaches in Ngu Hanh Son and Son Tra districts but has not been properly addressed. Danang City Department of Natural Resources and Environment reported that they have dealt with 200 such cases since April 2018.

Director of Danang City Department of Natural Resources and Environment, To Van Hung, admitted that many wastewater treatment plants in the city are being overloaded with a rising amount of discharge.

"The wastewater treatment facilities have become unable to meet the fast urban development in the city, especially in Son Tra and Ngu Hanh Son District," Hung explained. "There have not been clear policies and instructions on wastewater standard and reuse."

The same situation is also occurring in Phu Quoc Island. A South Korean tourist recently posted a video clip showing black wastewater running into a beach near Tran Hung Dao Street, Duong Dong Town after heavy rain. The tourist said she would leave the island earlier than scheduled after seeing the scene.

Explaining the problem, vice chairman of Phu Quoc District People's Committee, Pham Van Nghiep, said that there are now no wastewater treatment facility on Phu Quoc and as the amount was becoming bigger, it can flow onto the beach during heavy rain.


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