Once heavily contaminated, the former Dong Thanh landfill in HCM City’s Hoc Mon District has turned much greener. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - The Dong Thanh rubbish dump in Ho Chi Minh City has been converted into an orchard, drastically improving the environment in the surrounding neighbourhood.

The landfill in Hoc Mon district was once among the city’s major dumps. It received over ten million of rubbish daily, which contaminated local air and underground water.

In 2001, the municipal People’s Committee closed the dumping site and assigned the Urban Environment Ltd Company to manage it and tackle environmental pollution there.

Doan Khac Hung, head of the Dong Thanh Waste Treatment and Recycling under the company, said that as soon as the landfill was closed, clay was used to cover all rubbish dumping areas. The layer of clay was as thick as four centimetres, he said.

A 50-cm layer of gravel covered all the roads within the landfill.

After the landfill was transferred to his company in 2001, more measures were taken to revitalise the contaminated soil, Hung said.

“Firstly, trees were grown to restore the natural environment and look of the site. Secondly, the trees generate economic value. We tried to select the most adaptive types of plants for the site,” he said.

Since then, a variety of orchards have appeared on the area as the landfill returns to a natural state. Over 1,000 guava trees, 2,000 apricot blossom trees and orchid gardens are growing well there.

Along the entrance to the former dumping area are grass fields and ornamental plants.

Additionally, six net houses were built on the area of 12,000 sq.m for growing fruits and vegetables.

Hung said that orchards and ornamental plants generated about 300 million VND (13,500 USD) yearly. The sum is used to cover costs for labour and nursing the trees.

The urban environment company also cooperated with local authorities including the Hoc Mon District People’s Committee and the Dong Thanh Commune People’s Committee to supervise the environment at the former dumping site.

They established a supervising group with the participation of local residents who will report any environmental problems to authorised agencies to be fixed in a timely manner.-VNA