Hoan Kiem Lake , an important symbol of Hanoi , might be restored for the first time using a low-impact environmental German technology pending approval from the municipal People’s Committee.

The 2.4 million USD project is among a dozen initiatives as a result of a cooperation agreement signed on June 2006 between the Ministry of Science and Technology and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

It aims to remove sludge in the lake to provide a sustainable, clean environment for water species.

According to Dr Le Hung Anh, the project secretary, the highlight of the technology is thatwater species and water would be kept together within the lake itself, while the whole process of sludge removal is carried out.

The device, a Serditurtle, will use buoyancy to dip and rise like a submarine. Minimum turbulence and release of toxic compounds will be ensured, the surrounding water and eco-system are thus left unaffected.

Vietnamese and German experts have said that they would use the device to suck toxic sludge which is up to several metres deep from the bottom of the lake. The device will crawl on the lake bed using two corkscrew-like spirals that dig up and funnel the mud into a pipe while also propelling the device forwards.

Anh further added that the sludge removal technology had been successfully proven in removing the sludge from Uncle Ho’s fish pond this month.

“The pond houses a large population of fish and there has not been a single fish reported dead as a result of the sludge removal,” he said.

Sharing the same view, Associate Professor Ha Dinh Duc, Vietnam’s pre-eminent researcher on turtles at the Hanoi University of Science - better known here as the “Turtle Professor” – said the German technology was the most suitable among those presented from Japan, Thailand and elsewhere.

Situated in the heart of Hanoi , the algae-green lake is home to an elusive turtle that plays a key role in Vietnam folklore. It depicts the story of a Vietnamese emperor trying to figh back an invasion by the Chinese with a precious sword. As he sailed upon the lake, after the country had regained independence, a turtle surfaced and took back the sacred sword, in case the next generation needed to use it to defend the nation. The lake and the turtle itself are famed for their beauty and have become symbols of Vietnam ’s struggle for independence. This is why the municipal People’s Committee has sought assurance that the water species are protected during the clean-up./.