The Death hanging around Ba River

Published: 23/06/2011 05:00


The one-day poetic Ba River has become an obsession of local residents in An Khe Commune in Gia Lai province because it has become seriously polluted.

The one-day poetic Ba River has become an obsession of local residents in An Khe Commune in Gia Lai province because it has become seriously polluted.

The Ba River has become exhausted with water which turned yellow and gives a stinking smell. A lot of fishermen and fish farmers have left the commune. Local residents dare not use the water from the river, even though the water goes though a treatment system, because they fear the water will bring diseases. Other residents have left just because of the terrible smell from the river.

The Ba River, which has been a part of the life of local residents for the last many generations, has become a dead river, because of which, the life quality has been degrading. The river now cannot serve as the source which provides water for industrial production, for daily life, while it has caused big environmental problems.

Saigon Tiep Thi’s reporters, who traveled along the dead river, from the An Khe-Ka Nak hydropower plant in Kban district to the An Khe town, could see with their own eyes how the life of local residents had been affected by the dirty river. There, they were told about the foreseeable death of the river.

“It is now a little bit better than one week ago. At that time, you would have to hold your nose when passing here, or you would get vomit,” Suong, a taxi motorbike driver said.

According to Suong, the daily activities of local residents have changed since late February 2011, because of the stinking smell from the river. An Binh ward is the biggest sufferer. A lot of local residents had to move to other localities, while others have to reside at their relatives’ homes, about tens of kilometers away.

According to Dinh Ngoc Thang, Deputy Chair of the An Binh Ward’s People’s Committee in An Khe Town, the residents whose homes are located along the river, are the biggest sufferers. They have to wear protective masks all day long. Previously, they used the river’s water for the daily life, while they now have to use water from drilled wells.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Loan in An Binh ward complained that the polluted river has deprived 30 million dong a month of her family. The Song Ba Café of Loan once received hundreds of clients a day, which brought her fat profits. However, as the river has become polluted, no one wants to go to the café any more.

“If the problem cannot be solved, I will have to relocate my café,” Loan complained.

Since the Ba River became polluted, households along the river have drill wells to get water for daily use. Though the An Khe water company still keeps providing water, local residents dare not use the water for cooking meals, because the water, taken from the Ba River, is too muddy.

“Every month, our four member family has to buy 10 tanks of water for drinking. This is really a big sum of money for me, a taxi motorbike driver,” said Nguyen The Tao in Tay Son ward.

The anticipated death of the river

Running through the province of Gia Lai, Ba River serves as the lifeline for 360,000 people in five districts and two towns. However, even on the first days of rainy season, some passages of the river do not have water. Meanwhile, on the areas near the sugar refinery, Veyu cassave starch, the water looks yellow and muddy. A long stretch of river, barricaded with the An Khe-Ka Nak hydropower plant, has become an artificial stagnant pond.

Recent research works have pointed out that it is the An Khe-Ka Nak hydropower plant which has deprived the water of the river, while the waste water from factories has poisoned the river.

The area which was the rice field near the An Khe dam has become a big lake. Many hectares of crop land of people were sunk in the sea of water. The people, who earned their living on truck farming, have got compensation money and left for other localities. However, those, who live on fish farming, are still looking for other places to continue their production.

The Ba River has been well known as the source for feeding 182 kinds of fishes, 11 of which are listed in the Red Book. However, a lot of fishes have died because of the river’s pollution. Fishing people on the two banks of the river have to leave boats ashore, because the aquatic products on the river have become exhausted.


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