Ho Chi Minh City

Feasible solutions for HCMC to improve canal pollution

As the pollution of canals in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has reached an unbearable rate, a wide range of methods have been collected to effectively address the thorny issue, requiring the effort of both the government as well as the community.

Waste cleaning activity in District 7 of HCMC. Photo by Viet Dung

Waste cleaning activity in District 7 of HCMC. Photo by Viet Dung

Mr. Truong Trung Kien, Head of the Urban Department under the HCMC People’s Council, suggested the use of various methods such as cameras or even neighboring residents to catch illegal garbage throwing red-handed.

He added that fining people might not be the ideal solution since the higher the fine is, the harder for law enforcers it is to carry out; therefore, forcing law-breakers to collect trash and clean up the place could be a better method in hope of raising their awareness on wrong doings.

Article 7 in Decree 167/2013 regulates in detail the right of the authorities to request garbage dumpers or people who urinate in public places to clean up these locations.

He concluded that the local authorities should prioritize the public’s opinions and recommendations when tackling illegal waste disposal on canals.

Sharing the same idea about camera installation, Mr. Chau Minh Hieu, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Tan Binh District, reported that in 2018, his district had 10 garbage hot spots, including Hy Vong Canal, Tan Tru Canal, and A1 Canal.

To effectively implement Instruction No.19-CT/TU by the HCMC Party Committee, the Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee in the district will exploit the Tan Binh online software to monitor as well as handle possible situations. Meanwhile, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ward 15 is responsible for receiving reports on illegal garbage dumping via this software, along with timely solutions in less than 120 minutes.

As a result, 6 out of the 10 hot spots have basically been erased. Mr. Hieu shared that in the near future, Tan Binh District is going to propagandize knowledge for citizens on harmful effects of garbage while installing cameras at hot spots to collect evidences for fining lawbreakers.

According to Mr. Cao Thanh Binh, Deputy Head of the Economy – Budget Department under the HCMC People’s Council, the city is trying its best to raise the public’s awareness about environment protection and severe impacts illegitimate littering onto canals and streets.

He proposed that citizens should cooperate to accuse offenders whenever possible. They should capture pictures of wrong doings to report to the authorities, who receive this information and handle the case immediately, along with offenders’ name announcement if needed.

These units should also collect all arisen problems in processing these offences, especially related to fining, so that a clear instruction can be published to aid local areas in the task. It is also advisable to replace any state officers who are not able to fulfill the goal of erasing pollution hot spots in the areas they are in charge of, or to praise those who are successful.

Commenting on the abnormal rise of garbage collection fee, Mr. Do Anh Khang, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Go Vap District, said that in the near future, his district is going to impose a sanction for private trash collection organizations which unreasonably increase this fee or cannot fulfill their task on time.

He added that Go Vap District has purposely implemented Instruction No.19-CT/TU, including regular checks on pollution hot spots in the area and offender fining. Until now, the district has fined 60 cases, with the total amount of VND110 million (approx. $4,750).

Camera installation will also be done to thoroughly eliminate illegal waste disposal.

Mr. Le Minh Duc, Deputy Head of the Legitimation Department under the HCMC People’s Council, suggested that it is high time for the municipal authorities to apply stricter methods to erase illegal littering in accordance with Decree No.167/2013 and Decree No.155/2016 on administration fining regarding environmental protection.

He said that the fining rates for these cases are high enough to deter people from offending the law. What makes it complicated is the regulation when wrongdoers refuse to pay, or when there is a need to cite proofs for the crime, along with a complex fining procedure.

Therefore, he recommended the city should proposed to the central government to simplify these regulations so that law enforcers are able to fine lawbreakers just like traffic police officers do, or the general public are able to record evidence via their own mobile devices rather than ‘state-qualified’ ones. Another suggestion is to publicly announce the name of garbage throwers on local websites or bulletin boards.

The solution of Mr. Doan Phuoc Luong, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Thanh My Loi Ward in District 2, is that his ward should frequently check the status of open grounds, where garbage heaps are often found. What is more, construction owners have to sign a contract to legally clean building waste.

The People’s Committee of the ward is also suggested to control waste collection activities of private organizations, disallowing these people to raise service fee unreasonably. These organizations should negotiate with residents on methods and fee to collect oversize waste.

Apartment block project owners are asked to share with the local authorities the task of timely preventing illegitimate trash disposal.

Finally, the District 2 People’s Committee should require manufacturing plants and commercial companies, especially those trading food, to sign a contract for the cleaning of their specific waste kind.

By Staff Writers – Translated by Thanh Tam

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