Develop the economy, but unfailingly protect Sài Gòn River: experts

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HCM City is focused on protecting the Sài Gòn River amid its economic development efforts. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ

HCM CITY — HCM City needs to protect the Sài Gòn River and develop a service economy along its banks, experts told a seminar on Friday.

The seminar was held to collect opinions on the city’s plan to develop riverside landscapes and services by 2045.

Nguyễn Minh Hòa, vice chairman of the HCM City Urban Planning Development Association, warned about possible threats if the Sài Gòn River is not protected well, pointing to land subsidence.

It is necessary to have an appropriate model for economic development but also protect the river to leave a legacy for younger generations, he said.

Huỳnh Xuân Thụ, deputy chief of the city Planning and Architecture Department office, said the river faces many issues caused by rapid urbanisation and commercialisation, limited resources and climate change that led to flooding and salinity.

He said the public should join authorities to protect and develop the river.

Nguyễn Thanh Nhã, the department’s director, said, “Two years ago the city’s leaders realised that our behaviour towards the river was not [optimal], and instructed my department to draw up plans to protect the Sài Gòn River.”

The department has done a number of surveys of the river between Củ Chi District and Đèn Đỏ Cape in District 7, considered removal of projects not in line with the city’s strategic policies and sought solutions, he said.

“During the planning process, the department will save space for public facilities to serve the community, and cancel projects that may encroach on the river.”

One more important thing to do is raising public and investor awareness of protecting the river and appreciating nature, he said.

Under the plan to develop riverside landscapes and the service economy by 2045, the river’s banks will primarily be a space for public activities and entertainment for locals and tourists.

The banks have 3,100-5,000ha of land that can be used to plant trees, build traffic infrastructure and public spaces, and provide space for businesses.

The city will first improve the landscapes and traffic facilities by 2025, and develop green spaces and amusement facilities through 2045. — VNS

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