To avoid causing further deterioration to the country’s water resources, National Assembly members have prompted for urgent efforts to be taken over the discharge of sewage into the water supply.
The National Assembly made their position clear on the amendment to the Law on Water and Water Resources, at the ongoing National Assembly (NA) session earlier this week.
At the session, Article No. 28 of the law, concerning permission for waste water discharge, along with the Hongxeng and Hongsak drainage system was discussed.
As representatives explained, the Hongxeng and Hongsak channel was a major cause for concern, due to the amount of sewage spewing into the water source caused by the release of wastewater.
NA member for Luang Prabang province, Mr Thongchanh Manixay, spoke about the situation in Hongxeng, stating that the channel was filled with untreated sewage water that severely posed a threat to the local environment.
“Before, many people wanted to live alongside this channel but now everyone wants to move away,” he said, adding that the sewage was contributed by every household.
Assembly member for Vientiane, Mr Bounthong Phammachanh, commented that the direct release of wastewater from households should be prohibited. He suggested that permission for wastewater discharge should be requested by individuals and legal entities through alphabetical application and should expire within one year, rather than the two years stipulated in the amendment.
NA member for Attapeu province, Ms Phonmany Khienxayavong, stated that the treatment of wastewater from all businesses should be mandatory.
Assembly member for Xayaboury province, Mr Phek Ondavong, described the situation in his own province, saying many development projects and factories have also had a negative impact on the environment and water resources there. Adding that Article No. 28 should detail the impact of each type of waste water discharge and to stipulate the permission that should be given.
Aside from the environmental situation in urban areas, Assembly members also voiced the negative impact of mining projects on the environment in more remote areas.
Assembly member for Vientiane province, Mr Khambong Khonsavanh, demanded decisive measures be implemented against offenses relating to the contamination of water, stressing that it was a critical factor in safe human habitats.
He indicated loopholes in law enforcement, giving an example where government officials previously investigated a pig farm in the province, following public complaints about the discharge of wastewater from the farm into a nearby river.
“The bad smell of the pig excrement disappeared when officials received enough money,” Mr Khambong said. “No appeal should be allowed for those charged with water resource-related offences.”