​90% of urban household wastewater dumped directly into environment

A recent report in Vietnam has shed light on a worrying finding that 90% of urban household wastewater in the country is dumped directly into the environment without receiving any treatment.

​90% of urban household wastewater dumped directly into environment hinh 0
The Nhue River in Hanoi turns black due to water pollution from human activities. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The report, compiled by the state-funded Center for Environment and Community Research (CECR), highlights the alarming state of water pollution across all 63 provinces and municipalities in the country.

The annual production of household wastewater, which makes up over 30% of all wastewater discharged into the environment in Vietnam, rises annually as a result of the country’s rapid urbanization.

“Ninety percent of urban household wastewater is dumped directly into the environment without undergoing treatment,” said CECR director Nguyen Ngoc Ly.

“The majority of wastewater only receives primary treatment in septic tanks [where solids and organics are reduced through settling and anaerobic processes] before it is discharged through the sewer system into the environment,” she added.

Household wastewater remains a primary cause of pollution in rivers, canals, and lakes within urban areas in Vietnam, destroying the landscape and deteriorating the quality of life for locals, Ly said.

According to CECR’s report, major cities in Vietnam including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang already have concentrated treatment plants, but their capacity has not met the actual volume of daily household wastewater being discharged into the environment.

Lackluster enforcement of environmental laws also adds to the problem, Ly said.

“Rich levels of nitrogen and phosphorus in household wastewater can lead to excessive growth of algae, which threatens other marine organisms,” said Dr. Ngo Phuong Quy, general director of Phu Dien estate company.

“Without proper and timely countermeasures to this threat, the water environment in big cities could be in grave danger,” he warned.

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