Green Living

January 29, 2022, 2:19 am

Nhieu Loc Canal – a time to revive

(11:11:38 AM 01/11/2014)
( - For those who have lived along Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal for decades, the scenery there 20 years ago is unthinkable now. A place where people kept at arm’s length in the beginning has been transformed into a converging point for city dwellers as well as visitors. And further transformation is in the pipeline.

Nhieu Loc Canal – a time to revive

A view of Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal.

All along Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal has changed dramatically. The gloomy picture of slums clinging along the stinking, stagnant water flow is now replaced by high-rise apartment and office buildings and modern houses. The crowded unhygienic neighborhood with small zigzagging alleys that was almost inaccessible 20 years ago is unthinkable now as the scenery is quite spacious with two wide streets running along the canal. And the then-darkened residential quarters are now brightened with lawns and tree-shaded spaces for residents to take a rest, to do exercises, or simply to take a walk or to walk the dog.

More than 20 years ago, people who lived along Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal never dared to believe that they would see its green surroundings with clean water one day.

“To be honest, this is absolutely the most amazing change I have ever seen in my entire life. I remember the canal was really terrible, full of garbage floating on black water and stinking smell as well. Now, I can even see schools of fish swimming down there. This is unbelievable!” says Le Van Thanh, whose family has resided there for a long time.

Thanh, while doing his morning exercise along the canal, recalls a dreary past of the canal not long ago. Inhabited in slums and makeshift tents along the canal, he says, were flocks of poor and homeless folks. They dumped garbage and waste onto the canal, making the water black, grimy and stinky. Passers-by always had to clutch their noses going through this neighborhood.

Changes began in 1993 when the city government started a project to rehabilitate the canal with the cost of trillions of Vietnam dong to relocate as many as 7,000 families with 50,000 people and to dredge millions of cubic meters of mud from the canal. Then came 2003 when a sanitation project for the canal with funding mainly coming from the World Bank to clean the canal, to build waste treatment facilities and to install the wastewater pipeline system.

“The canal is now a good place for people to do exercise on pieces of equipment for workouts installed along the canal in an open, green and fresh atmosphere. I can see many children playing outdoor games while elders can slowly enjoy playing,” Thanh comments.

Another person named Nguyen Thi Be, who has a food stall selling Vietnamese broken rice and vermicelli with grilled pork for breakfast, also shows her happiness at the big changes.

When asked about the biggest benefit the new canal brings to her, Be recalls that the canal got a new face around two years ago, and more people have now traveled on the two streets along the canal and stop by her stall to buy food.

“I am very happy that my small business has got better since then. I usually sell out everything by 10 a.m. My customers include students and white-collar workers,” the woman says.

Life there has now been revived, as all can see while traveling along the canal.

Hundreds of cafes, eateries and other essential service outlets have sprung up along the canal, and each afternoon, one can see visitors dropping in such venues, either for a quick coffee or food, or for gossips with friends.

Many young people in the city love to gather together in the afternoon for dining or drinking, and the destination of choice for many is often the “embankment restaurant,” a term used to refer to any of the eateries along the canal characterized by good food, fresh air and affordable prices.

Recently, many travel companies in the city have been mapping out plans to launch tours on the canal for visitors as the scenery there is evaluated as beautiful for viewers.

The environment along Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal is poised to further improve as the city government is about to implement the second stage of the Nhieu Loc Thi Nghe sanitation project, also financed with hundreds of millions of dollars by the World Bank this time. By developing a huge lake in District 2 for storing and treating wastewater from the entire basin of the canal, it is believed that the project will help create a cleaner and fresher environment, and areas along the canal will be good place to live, work and play. The canal is being further revived.


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