14:09 | 02/08/2016 Science - Technology
(VEN) - Thanks to prompt and serious participation of the Vietnamese government, ministries, departments and scientists at home and abroad, Formosa, which has caused environmental disasters in many countries around the world was revealed as the mass fish death culprit in four central provinces of Vietnam. The country needs to do much more to clean up the sea and ensure welfare for tens of thousands of fishermen, especially problems related to foreign investment attraction and management.
Fish died massively in Vung Ang between April 6 and 10. The phenomenon spread along the coast of Quang Binh Province on April 10.
Fish in dozens of cages raised by around 60 households in Phu Loc District’s Lang Co Town in Thua Thien Hue Province died massively, especially on April 15. Massive deaths of wild fish in Thua Thien Hue were also reported.
Dead fish was spotted along the coast of the central city of Da Nang on April 29.
Fish in cages continued to die in Huong Tra and Thuan An towns under Thua Thien Hue, while dead fish washed ashore in Quang Binh Province’s Bo Trach District on May 4.
Government, ministries and agencies stepped in
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s inspection team headed by the general director of the Vietnam Environment Administration directly examined at the Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co., Ltd. in the Vung Ang Economic Zone in Ha Tinh Province on April 22.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc instructed agencies to quickly clarify the reason of the mass fish deaths along the central coast on April 25 and assigned provincial people’s committees of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue to review and total up the damages, and then take comprehensive measures to deal with mass fish deaths. He also assigned the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology to actively coordinate with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to clarify the cause of the mass fish deaths.
Under the direction of Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, the Ministry of Industry and Trade promoted links with businesses to open two points of purchasing offshore seafood in Quang Binh Province on April 30.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired a meeting with local leaders of affected provinces on May 1, emphasizing that any agency, organization or inpidual that violates the law must be investigated. He also agreed to provide 4,500 tonnes of rice for offshore fishermen. According to the approved proposal, each fisherman will receive 15 kg of rice during one and half a month and they will be exempt from paying interest for their bank loans within six months to build large boats for offshore fishing.
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha met German, US, Israeli and Vietnamese scientists in an effort to find out the reason of the mass fish deaths along the central coast on May 2. He also signed the decision for joint inspection against units operating in the Vung Ang Economic Zone under Ha Tinh Province’s Ky Anh Town.
The joint inspection team including representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and academies of science and technology conducted comprehensive examination on May 4 at the Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co., Ltd.
According to an underwater survey, coral reefs within six nautical miles from shore, spreading from the beginning to the end of Quang Binh Province were destroyed. Dead fish along the central coast of Vietnam were the fish living in the bottom layer.
Head of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung said that scientists identified the reason of the mass fish deaths in four central provinces on June 2.
Realizingthe serious impact on fisheries, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc decided to extend the time of rice support from one and a half months to six months for fishermen in the provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue on June 25.
The culprit revealed
On June 28, the Formosa Ha Tinh Corporation took full responsibility for the mass fish deaths in four central provinces of Vietnam, officially apologizing to the Vietnamese government and people due to the environmental disaster, and pledging to offer a total compensation of US$500 million. The compensation amount will be used to support local fishermen to switch to other jobs and recover the polluted maritime environment. Formosa also committed to absolutely deal with shortcomings and limitations in waste and wastewater treatment and improve its production technologies to ensure that waste will be completely treated before discharge to the environment. They also guaranteed not to recur violations of local laws on environmental and water resource protection.
Formosa leaders apologize to the Vietnamese government and people due to the environmental disaster
The Government Office held a press conference on June 30 to announce the cause and the culprit of the mass fish deaths in four central provinces.
Opinions from affected provinces
After the press conference, the Vietnam Economic News’ reporters opened talks with some leaders of departments, agencies and local fishery associations.
Thua Thien Hue Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Deputy Director Le Tran Nguyen Hung said that announcing the reason for the mass fish deaths in four central provinces showed the efforts of the government, ministries, agencies and scientists at home and abroad. Hung said that it is necessary to assess the extent of damages when mentioning to a total compensation of US$500 million. The mass fish deaths along the central coast have caused serious impacts not only on fishing activities, but also on tourism and fishing logistic services.
Head of the Quang Tri Province Party Committee Propaganda and Education Committee Ho Thi Thu Hang said that the Quang Tri Province Party Committee has assigned the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee in the province to launch a campaign to support affected fishermen. By June 14, three support packages from organizations, inpiduals and donors in and outside the province valued at around VND12.487 billion and 92 tonnes of rice were provided for families affected by the mass fish deaths.
Due to environmental problems caused by Formosa’s plant in Vung Ang, the government should force this company to correct all this failure, said Da Nang Fishery Association Chairman Tran Van Linh.
Fisherman Nguyen Nam from Phu Loc District’s Vinh My Commune in Thua Thien Hue Province:
After receiving state support such as money and rice, fishing activities have become normal during the last month with average incomes ranging from VND400,000-600,000 a day. Seafood sales continued, despite lower prices compared to the previous years.
Fisherman Tran Than from Phu Loc District’s Vinh Hai Commune in Thua Thien Hue Province:
Announcing the reason for the mass fish deaths along the central coast of Vietnam has met the expectations of fishermen. We can back to our fishing activities to stabilize living conditions, while compensation can be used to support fishermen to switch to other jobs.
Fisherman Nguyen Van Huyen from Le Thuy District’s Ngu Thuy Bac Commune in Quang Binh Province:
I have received initial support provided by the state. We expect adequate compensation and early recovery of the polluted maritime environment.