Waterway transportation on the Saigon and Vam Co Dong rivers have been hindered by the rampant development of water hyacinth.
Normally, water hyacinth develops quickly on rivers from October through June or July of the next year. During this time, some sections on the Saigon and Vam Co rivers are fully covered by water hyacinth.
This year, water hyacinth appears early on the two rivers, particularly from Km 0 + 00 to Km 50 + 00 of the Sai Gon River, in the districts of Trang Bang, Duong Minh Chau in Tay Ninh province and Dau Tieng district in Binh Duong province. Similarly, the trees densely cover the Vam Co River, from Km 0+00 to Km 81+00, in the districts of Trang Bang, Ben Cau, Go Dau, Chau Thanh, Hoa Thanh of Tay Ninh province, Duc Hoa and Duc Hue districts of Long An province.
The heavy density of water hyacinth has hindered the circulation of vessels on the two rivers, especially small ones. Some accidents have been reported.
Mr. Duong Huu Nhat, deputy director of the Domestic Waterway Management Unit 10, said that the total volume of water hyacinth n the two rivers is about 4 million cubic meters.
Nhat said that water hyacinth is dangerous for vessels but his agency did not have capital for cleaning up the trees.
Some solutions have been suggested. The first is using barges of 700-1,000 tons, 40-ton cranes and towboats of 350cv at least to fish out water hyacinth and pile them up on certain sites on the riverbank. This method is simple and effective, which can be carried out whenever relevant agencies have money. Water hyacinth can be composted to make organic fertilizer.
The second measure is spraying herbicide on water hyacinth to kill and hinder its development in a long time. However, herbicide may have bad impacts on the environment and the water resources.
In the long run, it is necessary to build specialized vessels to fish out, chop and press water hyacinth into pieces to make organic fertilizer.
Five companies in Long An and Tay Ninh have introduced their plans on treating water hyacinth, at the lowest cost of VND1.5 billion ($75,000) and the highest cost of VND9.5 billion ($475,000).
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