Provinces urged to protect river basin hinh anh 1Attendees at the 11th meeting of the ​Dong Nai River’s Environmental Protection Committee discuss solutions for environmental protection in the Dong Nai River basin at a meeting yesterday in HCM City (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) - The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment has asked authorities in Ho Chi Minh City and 10 provinces to develop a master plan on effective management of water resources and environmental protection in the Dong Nai River basin.

Speaking at the 11th meeting of Dong Nai River’s Environmental Protection Committee held in HCM City on November 24, the deputy minister of Natural Resource and Environment, Vo Tuan Nhan, said the Dong Nai River basin was one of the country’s largest basins.

“The master plan has to ensure harmonious socio-economic development in each province and city as well as environmental protection,” he said.

The development of hydroelectric plants, industrial parks, urban areas, and other infrastructure should be noted to ensure that it matches the load capacity of the river system.

“Environmental protection has to be considered an important activity which cannot be ignored. Pollution of the Dong Nai river can only be solved when all localities carry out their plans well," he said.

Local authorities should allocate significant capital to speed up the construction process of water and solid-waste treatment systems in urban areas and industrial parks as well as complexes, Nhan said.

Since last year, the proportion of urban areas in HCM City with water drainage and waste water treatment works rose from 13.2 percent to 21 percent, helping to improve water quality and the environment in the basin. The proportion in Binh Duong province increased from 20 percent to 60 percent.

More inspections of establishments should be conducted, and those causing pollution should be fined, he said.

Dinh Quoc Thai, chairman of Dong Nai provincial People’s Committee, said the committee would continue to look for the best solutions for protection of water sources and problems in the management of the basin.

The provinces and HCM City in the basin have carried out many activities to maintain quality of the Dong Nai river system. They have invested in a system to monitor the water environment.

Next year, they will set up centres to receive data from automatic waste water monitoring stations.

A project on environmental protection in the Dong Nai River basin until 2020 has been approved, Nhan said, adding that the committee was set up to guide and co-ordinate the project.

Rapid urbanisation and economic growth in the basin have caused water pollution, at times at alarming levels.

The 10 provinces in the area include Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An, Tay Ninh, Lam Dong, Dak Nong, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.-VNA