VietNamNet Bridge – The local authorities’ approval of a project to fill up a section of the Dong Nai River to build a new urban area would cause serious consequences, scientists have warned.
In September 2014, Toan Thinh Phat Company kicked off a project to upgrade landscapes and develop urban areas along the banks of the Dong Nai River.
The project affects 8.4 hectares in Quyet Thang Ward of Bien Hoa City, including 7.7 hectares to be acquired by encroaching on the river, while the remaining area is on existing land.
After five months of implementing the project, thousands of cubic meters of stone and soil have been poured into the Dong Nai River in a component project.
Le Xuan Ba from HCM City Industry University’s Science, Technology & the Environment Institute, strongly opposed the project implementation and warned that it would be “contrary to development laws” and “cause serious consequences”.
Ba said the filling-up of part of Dong Nai River would seriously affect the diverse ecosystem of the river system, including Dong Nai, Be, Saigon, Nha Be, Long Tau and Vam Co Rivers, that covers 11 provinces and cities.
“The natural laws of the river will be changed, while the current stream will be redirected, which will cause riverbank landslides, and damages to the environment, natural resources, ecosystem, waters, houses and cultivation land,” he said.
Ba said the changes to the current stream will affect aquatic resources because this would hinder “evacuation” of fish that travel upstream to spawn in the breeding season.
“The existing Dong Nai River Basin Protection Committee has been operating ineffectively,” he said. “The involved parties have been doing whatever they want, while they do not care about the principles in flood control and river stream management.”
A member of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, Dang Van Khoa, who is also chair of the HCM City Committee for Natural and Environmental Protection, said he was “astonished when hearing that Dong Nai authorities would allow the Dong Nai River to be filled up to build a new urban area in Bien Hoa City”.
“The rough handling of the river flow will cause an ecological imbalance, affect landscapes and the environment of a large area, including HCM City,” he said.
“Millions of people have been living on the Dong Nai River. Meanwhile, the project will surely affect water source quality,” he said. “I strongly recommend that the Dong Nai provincial People’s Committee listen to the opinions from the public and consult with experts to make reasonable decisions.”
“The river’s landscapes, once they are lost, will never be retrieved,” he warned.
Dong Nai housing project should be cancelled: VRN
Vietnam River Network (VRN) has called for the cancellation of a residential development on 8.4 hectares of reclaimed land beside the Dong Nai River in southern Dong Nai Province.
The Hanoi based network, which is a Vietnamese non-governmental organisation of hydrological and ecological scientists, said reclaiming such a big area would critically interfere with the hydrology, ecology, economy and society of the area.
“The project will cause a big change to the river’s water flow. This would lead to regional land erosion, block floodwater, and increase of pollution,” it said.
“Millions of residents in Dong Nai and HCM City will face a potential shortage of clean water as their water supply is taken from the section of the river where the project is based.
“The ecology of the Dong Nai river basin will change abruptly.
After local authorities agreed to the project last July, the project owner, Toan Thinh Phat joint stock company, blocked the area off with rocks.
However, the network demanded approval for the project be reconsidered. The network also demanded a meeting the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and concerned committed on river basins.
“We insist that the project will create conflict on the use of water thus local authorities and the project holder must have detailed consultation with nearby residents as well as province and city councils from the localities, including Binh Duong and HCM City, that are sharing the water resource,” it said.
Reports by local newspapers said that the project holder admitted they it did not consult local residents about the project. Its environmental-impact assessment was done by a research institute connected to the National University in HCM City.
Dong Nai river is the main stream of the Dong Nai river system, which is the country’s biggest river system. The whole basin is located inside Vietnamese territory. VNS
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