Sewers and storm drains don’t stir most people’s deepest passions. But try creating a modern, economically vibrant city without them.
Cleaning up this once-filthy waterway and creating new sanitation infrastructure has changed the face of the city, transforming it into a model for improving urban infrastructure in difficult settings around the world.
Ho Chi Minh City residents recall the canal as it used to be: an open sewer snaking through the city’s central business district and several of its most densely populated neighborhoods. Waste from thousands of residential buildings, businesses and factories spewed directly into the water, giving the canal a perpetual stench and killing the fish that inhabited it.
Frequent floods brought pollutants and detritus onto local streets. Crumbling embankments did little to restrain flooding, and people living nearby experienced high levels of water-borne diseases.
By the early 2000s, political leaders resolved to fix the situation, but how to get started remained anything but clear.
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Bloomberg, Oct 16, 2013