VietNamNet Bridge – Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh on Monday called on continued close supervision on the operation of the Taiwan-invested steel company – Formosa Ha Tinh – to avoid any violations.
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh chairs the ninth session of the Steering Committee for marine incident recovery in Ha Noi on Monday. — Photo: VNA/VNS
The company was responsible for the marine environment incident in Viet Nam’s four central provinces last year.
Binh, who is head of the steering committee in charge of dealing with the Formosa incident’s aftermath, emphasised that if any new violation was detected, Viet Nam would deliver strict punishment.
The company has essentially addressed its 52 violations and implemented measures to monitor proper waste water treatment. It has also started producing steel for export.
The deputy PM also applauded efforts made by the four affected provinces – Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue – in the aftermath of the incident and their efforts towards social welfare of the affected people.
“Compensation to the affected people must be given on the principle of transparency and equality,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said that until August 18, localities had disbursed compensation of over VND5.9 trillion (US$260 million) to eligible people, accounting for almost 95 per cent of total compensation.
The remaining 5 per cent of the compensation was not disbursed because recipients were not at home, including those working overseas or in other localities, or those not satisfied with the compensation, he said.
Latest reports showed that more than 11,700 tonnes of fish caught from the affected marine areas have been stored for testing to determine whether they are safe for use. The amount of stored fish is 2.2 times higher than that reported by the Ministry of Health in November, 2016.
The increased amount of stored fish has concerned officials, including Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong, who said that inter-sectoral inspectors had examined the fish.
The agriculture ministry has, meanwhile, asked for inter-ministerial inspection to check the stored fish to avoid any profiteering.
Senior Lieutenant-General Bui Van Nam, deputy minister of public security, said one year after the environmental marine incident, public security in the four affected provinces was stable.
Nam said continued supervision of the compensation to be given to affected people was also needed.
The mass fish deaths was first detected on April 6 last year in Ky Anh Town in Ha Tinh Province — the place where Taiwan-invested Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Iron and Steel LTd Company (Formosa Ha Tinh) is located.
Within the next nine days, fishermen and locals along the central coast found themselves panicking when tonnes of dead fish continuously washed up ashore southwards, from Quang Binh to Quang Tri and later down to Thua Thien-Hue, just dozens of kilometres away from the famous tourism city of Da Nang.
Statistics from the four provinces revealed there was 277 tonnes of dead fish – both washed up on the beaches and farmed fish from the sea — causing estimated economic losses totaling more than VND260 billion ($11.5 million). Further, at least 123,000 fishermen and locals who rely on the sea for a living or who work in the tourism industry were severely affected by the incident.
The company then pledged $500 million in compensation for the affected people in the central region.