Thursday, 18 Jan 2018

Hanoi’s lake improvement program: earning back green lungs for the city

Updated at Saturday, 15 Jul 2017, 10:04
The Hanoitimes - During the past years, Hanoi’s lakes have regained the clean environment after a series of measures taken by the authority. The most apparent changes are witnessed in Giang Vo Lake and Ngoc Khanh lake in Ba Dinh district.
Improved living standards
Walking around Giang Vo lake, we saw no street vendors selling goods around. The water surface of the lake has become transparent and there was rarely any sight of trash. Nguyen Xuan Cung, an elderly living  in building B3, Giang Vo ward, recalled the old days when  the lake was  dirty with trash and dead fish floating on the surface, provoking a fetid odor. In particular, during the summer evenings, few people dared to walk around the lake. “However, thanks to the drastic actions of the Hanoi People’s Committee, there have been major improvements. Old people like us can walk around or sit in the bench to breath some fresh breeze. It is as if my life could expand another ten years,” Cung humorously said.
Clean and green environment at Ngoc Khanh Lake is drawing people living nearby to do exercies and the lake side returned to be a playground for young people.
Clean and green environment at Ngoc Khanh Lake is drawing people living nearby to do exercies and the lake side returned to be a playground for young people.
In the evening of July 12, children, the elderly and teenageers are either doing some exercises or taking walk  at Ngoc Khanh lake, in  a clean and fresh environment.  Pham Thi Kim Hoa, a resident  from Pham Huy Thong street  said  that in comparison to mid 2016, the lake water  now has improved. Without any trash or algae floating on the surface, the water has become clearer without any uncomfortable smell.
“Everyday, not only citizens but also foreign tourists walk around here. If we can create a fresh environment with beautiful landscape, the residents’ health will improve and tourists will be introduced to a pretty scenery of the capital as well,” Hoa said.

The large crowd of young people jogging and children playing around the lakes  of  Giang Vo and Ngoc Khanh prove the  result of the program to recover the lake environment in Hanoi. However, there are various concerns on their future state. Without people’s will to  protect and maintain the lake environment, the Hanoi Sewerage and Drainage Company alone will not be able to keep Hanoi’s   122 lakes clean.
Keeping the lake environment clean and sustainable
According to the 2015 Lake report issued by the Center for Environment and Community Research (CECR), Giang Vo Lake has been polluted more severely compared to 2010. The water has a fetid smell. Its aquatic animals  are mostly fish and snail released by people. The lake received  water discharged from surrounding hotels . In September 2016, when treating the water pollution in Giang Vo lake, drainage workers brought on land a considerable amount of trash consisting of incense and votive papers. In Ngoc Khanh Lake, in May 2016, after dredging the lake bed  and building the embankment, the lake faced with heavy contamination due to dead algae stuck on the surface. One of the reasons for this incident was attributed to the leaks of discharge from surrounding sources.
Bui Ngoc Uyen, team leader of the lake management team of the Hanoi Sewerage and Drainage  Company said that in the IV quarter  of 2016, the company conducted various measures  including operating sluice gates to regulate  rainwater and wastewater into the lake, treating water pollution with Redoxy-3C periodically, installing aquaponic rafts  and aerators to enhance the lake  oxygen exchange and self-cleaning ability.  However,  the awareness of the residents is the key to keep the lakes clean. “The whole community needs to work together to maintain and protect the lakes so that the pollution situation will not repeat,” Bui Ngoc Uyen said.
With the same view, Nguyen Ngoc Ly, the Director of CECR said raising the awareness of residents on environment considering Hanoi lakes as valuable assets of the city and nation would keep the lakes clean forever.  
“We cannot evaluate the value of lakes with regard to the areas of water surface. If we did, Hanoi lakes are too cheap in comparison to their real and sustainable values.” Ngoc Ly,  Director of the CECR.
Ngoc Thuy
Vu Le -
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