June 30th 2016 According to the findings of the Vietnamese investigation, the large scale fish deaths along Vietnam’s central coast were caused by toxins from a Taiwanese-owned steel plant. After a lengthy process, the Vietnamese government determined that Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp., a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group, was conducting test operations at its $10.6 billion steel complex. Toxins such as phenol and cyanide were discharged into the sea at quantities that exceeded legal limits. As a result, an estimated 70 tons of fish washed up dead along more than 125 miles of coastline in early April. The company has pledged to pay a $500 million fine in compensation for the damages.
The pledged money will be allocated to compensating damaged households, cleaning up the environment, and helping fisheries recover. Chen Yuan Cheng, the company’s chairman, apologized by video. “Our company takes full responsibility and sincerely apologizes to the Vietnamese people … for causing the environmental disaster which seriously affected the livelihood, production and jobs of the people and the sea environment,” he said.
Regions with damaged fisheries and tourism sectors include Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien Hue. To the displeasure of authorities, protests were also ignited in Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Tinh, and Hanoi. “Our position is that we respect the legitimate anger of the people. We, however, will not accept the abuse of that anger to instigate the sabotage of the party and government,” said Truong Minh Tuan, Vietnam’s Minister of Information and Communications.
Dang Duy Dong, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, told media outlets that while his country wanted to attract foreign investment, it would not do so at the cost of environmental health. Dong wants to draw more investments that are both environmentally friendly and technologically advanced.