Heavy rains and excessive amounts of rubbish have worsened flooding in HCM City (Photo: laodong.vn)
 
HCM City (VNA) - An excessive amount of rubbish and litter is blocking drains and sewers in Ho Chi Minh City, worsening flooding in the rainy season.

Bui Quang Truong, head of the city’s Urban Drainage Company’s rainwater management system, said that locals were trying to prevent odours from drains by dumping trash or covering trench drains and sewers with wooden sticks, plastic bags and other items.

“Every rainy season, sewer workers conduct periodic inspections to remove items blocking the sewers,” he said. “Some locals don’t want us to do this, and will reblock them after we remove the rubbish."

Before, during and after rains, sewer workers are sent to flood-prone areas to collect rubbish and clear the sewage system.

However, these areas are a small part of the 1,400km-long sewer and 80,000 tunnels that the company currently manages, Truong said.

According to environmental experts, nearly 40 percent of the drainage capacity of the sewer system is affected by excessive amounts of rubbish.

Flooding is often seen along streets in Binh Thanh district, Tan Binh district, and districts 5 and 6, especially in Cho Lon.

Sewer worker Le Van Long said that locals blame the authorities for not protecting the environment, but that it is actually the locals who cause the problem. Long said that he had to dive into the water to clear rubbish from one canal, but then “it became full of trash again”. 

Ho Long Phi, Director of the Centre of Water Management and Climate Change under the HCM City National University, said that environmental awareness among local residents must be improved through education campaigns.

While people should proactively protect the environment, stricter punishment is also needed, he said, adding that it was also essential to assign responsibility to a group of households living near each sewer entrance.

Huynh Minh Nhut, Director of the HCM City Urban Environment Company, said that management tasks were unclear and waste collection was inefficient.

Units of the HCM City Department of Transport are responsible for road maintenance and clearing garbage blocking the sewage system, while environmental sanitation workers take care of garbage collection on the roads.

Nhut said the city should form a specialised unit to clear rubbish from sewers.

At a recent meeting on socio-economic development, Chairman of the city People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong agreed that excessive garbage and heavy rainfall had overloaded the drainage capacity of the sewage system.

As a result, severe flooding on a large scale could occur, he said, adding that locals’ small actions can also help the effort to clear rubbish.-VNA