VRN opposes land reclamation in Dong Nai River
By Ngoc Hung – The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – The Vietnam Rivers Network (VRN) will write to the government of Dong Nai Province requesting a suspension of land reclamation work in the Dong Nai River until an environment impact assessment report has been done.
VRN on March 23 issued a statement opposing the reclamation on a stretch of the river by an urban rehabilitation and development project in Quyet Thang Ward, Bien Hoa City.
According to VRN, the Dong Nai River is not the sole property of Dong Nai Province. Such reclamation will leave negative impact on the environment in the river basin and create a bad precedent for future encroachments on the drainage corridors and the currents of rivers in Vietnam.
VRN told the Daily that it will petition the government of Dong Nai Province and relevant agencies to suspend the property project today. In case the project is still carried out, VRN would write to the Prime Minister.
“The Dong Nai River is a large one, flowing through many provinces, and is a vital source of water for dozens of millions of people in the basin. Therefore, all activities relating to the Dong Nai River must be agreed upon by the parties concerned as the river is not solely owned by Dong Nai Province,” a member of VRN talked to the Daily on the phone.
According to VRN, the project was licensed by Dong Nai Province as an urban rehabilitation and development work but this is in fact a construction work that is encroaching on the river and obstructing the river’s currents.
The project will affect water quality, worsen water pollution, obstruct drainage in the rainy season, and contribute to riverside erosion, said VRN.
The basin of the Dong Nai River is crucial to socio-economic development and the livelihoods in 11 provinces but its average water volume per capita is the lowest in Vietnam.
The project covers a total area of 8.4 hectares, with up to 7.72 hectares of riverside wetland and water surface. Therefore, the authorities need to reconsider the project and comply with the law on water resources, the law on environmental protection and other regulations on wetlands.
VRN stressed the need to suspend the project to seek extensive consultations with ministries and agencies like the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, river basin committees, the provinces using water from the Dong Nai River and the provinces in the lower reaches of the river.
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