Before 1975, the banks of the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal were lined with slums which were home to poor working families. These people from many places went to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) to earn their living. Having no houses, they went to the canal and put pillars into the canal to make temporary huts to live in. Each hut was only several dozen square meters in area and was roofed with tin sheets, oilpaper or thatch. These were the homes of five to ten people and were full of rats, cockroaches and other bugs. People dumped all kinds of waste into the canal. Gradually, the canal was filled with garbage and had smelly black water. This section of the canal stretched to seven districts, including downtown districts 1 and 3 and was the place with 50,000 households and about 1.2 million people.
After the south was liberated, the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City defined the renovation of the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal as a key project that needed research and immediate implementation. The committee was determined to clear this smelly black canal to change the lives of people as well as bring a new face to the urban landscape.
With the assistance of the World Bank, in 1993 the Department of Transport in Ho Chi Minh City implemented phase 1 of the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe project with a total capital of 8,600 billion dong, of which 5,252 billion dong came from the World Bank’s ODA fund and 3,348 billion dong was reciprocal capital from the city’s budget. The project relocated 7,000 households, dredged over 1.1 million tonnes of mud and used over 16,000m of concrete to reinforce the banks of the canal, and built Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Roads with a total length of 15km running along both sides of the canal to facilitate traffic. After nearly 20 years of construction, in August, 2012 the project was inaugurated to the delight of millions of people.
The completed project has changed the face of the city, greatly impacting on the economy, social welfare and society and bringing benefits to over 1.2 million people through the improvement of sanitation, reduction of the risk of flooding and decrease of traffic jams on such roads as Le Van Sy, Cach Mang Thang Tam and Nam Ky Khoi Nghia.
On the banks of the canal are green orchards and spacious pavements. Photo: Nguyen Luan/VNP
Today, the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal has become the pride of Ho Chi Minh City residents. The former canal with black water now has clear blue water with schools of fish. In the afternoon, a lot of people walk on the sidewalks along the banks to enjoy the fresh breeze. Truong Sa and Hoang Sa Roads are shaded by green trees. Beside the lawns near the roads there are large, clean sidewalks for pedestrians. At night the restaurants and cafes are crowded with customers. When the city lights up, the canal looks like a soft silk band winding its way through the districts under brilliant light. The travel companies have opened tours on the canal.
People living along the banks of the canal have invested billions of dong in rebuilding their houses. The space in the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe basin in general and along the banks of the canal in particular has completely changed. Nguyen Thanh Suong who has lived near the bank of the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal in District 3 since 1992, said: “At that time I could not dream that one day this canal would be as clean and beautiful as it is now. On the day the canal was inaugurated, the residents here were indescribably happy.”
According to Phan Chau Thuan, Director of the Management Board of Ho Chi Minh City’s Environmental Sanitation Project, phase 2, the project will start in 2015. The total capital of phase 2 is 542 million dollars, of which 450 million dollars is ODA loan and the remaining is reciprocal capital of the city. The project includes major items, such as a new sewage system running from Bo Dong well to Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe wastewater treatment plant in District 2, a wastewater treatment plant with a capacity of 480,000m3/day, a network of sewers of grades 2 and 3, and a connecting pipes among houses in District 2. By 2019, the whole project will be complete.
Story: Nguyen Oanh – Photos: Nguyen Luan
Đăng ký: VietNam News