Agricultural industry to clarify if central fish intoxicated to death in 3-5 days

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung on April 24 worked with the People’s Committee in Ha Tinh province and other authorized agencies on the mass death in fish washed ashore in the central coast from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien-Hue province.

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung (2nd, R) visits seafood breeders in Ky Anh town, Ha Tinh province on April 24 (Photo: SGGP)

Authorized agencies under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have excluded the possibility of reasons from dangerous diseases and farming environment. It will take them about 3-5 days to determine if there are toxins or heavy metals in the dead fish.
Deputy Minister Vu Van Tam reported that the volume of dead wild fish washed ashore approximates 30-50 tons.  To farm raised volume, Ha Tinh lost over seven tons of fish and shrimp and Thua Thien-Hue suffered a damage of 3-5 tons.
The ministry has instructed provinces to stop shore exploitation and farming, trade and use of dead fish and implement measures to tackle environmental pollution.
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said that they had worked with Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Company and taken wastewater samples from the company’s wastewater release pipe for testing.
Responding to the information that the company’s pipe discharged wastewater into Vung Ang waters, Mr. Nhan said that Formosa was permitted to release wastewater in accordance with a wastewater treatment process approved by the ministry.
Stating at the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung proposed the ministry to continue working with related agencies to inspect and clarify the cause of the mass death of fish.
According to a source from the Customs Agency at Vung Ang Border Gate, Vung Ang town, Ha Tinh province, Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Company imported nearly 300 tons of chemicals including anti-rust and anti-corrosion substances for the steel mill’s construction and in preparations for the operation of thermal power plants.
The agency said that the imported chemicals had been allowed by related ministries. However, environmental management agencies are responsible for how the chemicals have been used and how the company treated the wastewater discharged from the use of these.
Representative of Formosa Ha Tinh Company Chu Xuan Pham said that their Formosa steel mill project in Vung Ang Economic Zone has yet to come into official operation so it has not released wastewater.
The company had mainly let out domestic wastewater through the pipe. It imported the chemicals to rinse the pipe, which wastewater had run into sewage tanks and been treated to meet standards before released into the environment, he said.
Sai Gon Giai Phong Newspaper had talked to with Mr. Do Thanh Bai, director of the Environmental Engineering and Chemical Safety Center under the Vietnam Institute of Industrial Chemistry on the issue.
Mr. Bai said that the use of chemicals for washing the pipe is normal if wastewater has been treated appropriately before running into the sea, otherwise it might be the cause of the fish death.
To make clear if the wastewater has been treated appropriately or not, he said that authorized agencies should inspect the volume of chemicals that Formosa had used and compared it with the volume of released wastewater, the capacity of the sewage tanks and the system operation log.
Seawater sample testing is insufficient to find out the cause and it requires more testing results on dead fish and sediment mud samples.
Of these, dead fish cell analysis plays a significant role because it will show which type of toxins the fish had been infected with and if they are similar with chemicals that Formosa had used.
Samples taking and testing should be conducted urgently find out the truth, crack down on violators and return the stainless to the company.

Related article:
North central coast white with mass dead fish

By Duong Quang – Translated by Hai Mien

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