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Only 13% of Vietnam's Urban Sewage Is Treated Before Discharge

With a long coastline and elaborate river systems, Vietnam’s water environment is extremely susceptible to pollution, which is caused by untreated waste that’s discarded straight into the water.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Construction, Vietnam currently has 43 urban water treatment plants able to handle 926,000 cubic meters of sewage a day. Alas, the current percentage of waste water that’s collected and filtered only reaches 13% of total sewage, reports Bao Tai Nguyen Moi Truong, the mouthpiece of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The daily rates of waste discharge are highest in metropolitan areas like Hanoi and Saigon, whose treatment facilities are insufficient in tackling the cities’ waste. At the moment, Hanoi has six water treatment plants: Kim Lien, Truc Bach, Bay Mau, Yen So, North Thang Long-Van Tri, and Ho Tay. They are capable of processing just 22% of the capital’s wastewater, while the remaining 78% is channeled directly into the environment.

Saigon is in a similar situation, as its three treatment plants — Binh Hung, Binh Hung Hoa and Tham Luong-Ben Cat — can only handle 21.2% of the city’s daily discharge of 1.579 million cubic meters of sewage. If a current plan to construct more treatment facilities is actualized by the end of 2020, this figure could increase to 80% of total waste.

Many urban areas in Vietnam are suffering from the same pollution problem, but solving it has been a struggle. According to the Hanoi People’s Committee, there are ongoing projects to build more treatment plants, but they are severely delayed due to lack of financial resources.

In May 2018, the Center of Environment and Community Research (CECR) presented the result of a four-year study on the state of water quality in 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam. The data also reflects the inadequate handling of wastewater.

According to CECR Director Nguyen Ngoc Ly, “the majority of wastewater only receives primary treatment in septic tanks [where solids and organics are reduced through settling and anaerobic processes] before it is discharged through the sewer system into the environment.”

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