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Water pollution, acid rain affect millions in Ho Chi Minh

DONG NAI, Vietnam, July 23 — Pollution was spreading in the Dong Nai River Basin, the main source of water for 16 million people living in the area, including Ho Chi Minh City, informed sources said Monday.

Associate Professor Phung Chi Sy of the Vietnam Institute for Tropical Technology and Environmental Protection was quoting information from the Environmental Technology Center, which said industrial zones, clusters and firms were the main causes of pollution in the region. Daily emissions include approximately 123 tonnes of dust, 1,100 tonnes of sulphur dioxide (SO2), 119 tonnes of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and 29.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).

This pollution had led to acid rain, Sy said.

The Vietnam Environment Administration reported that rains with a pH of less than or equal to 5.5 were common in the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai due to rapid industrial development. The pH of rain is usually between 5.6 and 6.

Dong Nai's department of natural resources and environment reported that the province had 26 industrial zones with about 400 factories and manufacturers, but only 215 were equipped with emission treatment systems.

To save on production costs, many of them used materials including wood, coal, wood chip and bran coal for fuel instead of using oil, which contributed to the emissions problem in the area.

The department recently launched inspections at 89 municipal industrial enterprises. Of them, 14 were found not to meet the national industrial emission standards and were fined nearly VND450 million (US$ 21,400).

Sy said the province should implement more inspections to evaluate emissions and acid rain which were probably being caused by industrial waste, and then propose measures to tackle the situation. (PNA/VNS)

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