Causes of Water Pollution in Vietnam
Ngoc Lien Nguyen


     Vietnam, a southeast Asian country, is located downstream of some major rivers, so Vietnam has a vast river network. Although the quality of upstream river water is generally good, the downstream sections of major rivers reveal poor water quality, and most of the lakes and canals in urban areas have become sewage sinks. Many residents of Vietnam have wondered about the causes of water pollution, and many researchers have studied it. Accordingly, the two main causes of water pollution in Vietnam were the weakness in industrial wastewater management and the lack of civic awareness.

     The weakness in industrial wastewater management was the main cause of water pollution in Vietnam. Many industrial facilities used freshwater to carry away waste from their plants into canals, rivers, and lakes. Most of the enterprises did not have any wastewater treatment system and many industrial zones did not have a central wastewater treatment plant. Industrial wastewater was directly discharged into canals, lakes, ponds, and rivers, causing serious pollution of surface water. For example, in 2008, Vedan factory, a sodium glutamate plant, released their untreated industrial wastewater into the Thi Vai River and caused tons of fish and ducks in the river to die. Besides, the growing number of factories along the river and their untreated waste disposal was causing a lot of diseases and intestinal sicknesses among people living in the vicinity of the river. The water pollution was clearly visible, and residents could see a tarred black color and smell a pungent odor from the river. Therefore, one Japanese cargo ship refused to dock at Go Dau port on Thi Vai River because the water could corrode the ship’s hulls. In short, uncontrolled disposal of industrial wastewater was a huge source of water pollution, and it produced pollutants that were extremely harmful to people and the environment.

     Another cause of water pollution in Vietnam was the lack of awareness among citizens. Every day people generated a lot of trash, and they threw it directly into canals, rivers, and ponds. They collected water from these sources to do their laundry, wash dishes, and bathe, and then they threw the dirty water that contained detergent and shampoo directly into them. Furthermore, in 2004, when the bird flu outbreak occurred, they threw dead poultry into the canals and rivers. Also, they improperly buried the infected poultry underground. This caused a great deal of concern about groundwater pollution, especially during the rainy season. Moreover, villages in Vietnam involved in paper production, livestock slaughtering, weaving and dyeing also produced a huge volume of wastewater and solid waste, all of which was discharged into the environment in a careless manner. As a result, it caused particularly serious levels of water pollution and poisoned many forms of aquatic life such as fish, shrimp, crabs, and plant life, slowing their development, and even resulting in their death.

     In conclusion, the weakness in industrial wastewater management and the lack of awareness among citizens caused serious levels of water pollution which led to serious health problems and poisoned aquatic life. The government of Vietnam must formulate and implement several policies and programs that specifically address issues related to water resource management. Besides, people in Vietnam must learn to take care of the natural resources and stop polluting them; otherwise, the next generations will have even worse environmental problems  which will cause health problems for a large number of people.