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Wastewater problem growing in Vientiane

Jan 13. 2016
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By Khonesavanh Latsaphao

Few households in Vientiane have installed treatment systems for their wastewater before it is discharged into drainage channels and collects in the city's ponds and marshes.
As it seems that many home owners in Vientiane don't care about wastewater treatment or the quality of the water emanating from their houses, the problem of dirty drainage channels and pollution has continued to worsen.
A staffer at the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA), who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that households in the capital normally install septic tanks but do not set up treatment systems for other forms of liquid waste.
“It's good that households use septic tanks because if they released human excrement into the drainage system the smell would be unpleasantly strong,” he added.
Vientiane suffers from more wastewater problems than the provinces simply because it has a much larger population in a more densely packed area, he noted.
According to BORDA, 10 houses could group together to install a wastewater treatment system but they would need to share the cost of construction. BORDA can provide technical help with such projects.
The standard of wastewater treatment and sanitation in Laos is low compared to that in some other Asean countries such as Cambodia and Indonesia. Indonesia, for instance, has built sanitation into its development strategy plan.
Wastewater and pollution problems are gradually increasing in urban areas of Laos because the situation is poorly managed due to budget constraints.
According to the Vientiane Urban Development and Administration Authority (VUDAA), Vientiane's main drainage channels need to be cleaned annually to allow water to flow freely and to prevent bad odours and flooding.
Vientiane has 21 major drainage channels and storm water drains that need cleaning and repairs each year.

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