DONG NAI — Nearly 200 households in southern Dong Nai Province's Long Thanh District and Bien Hoa City are still waiting to receive compensation from Sonadezi Long Thanh Company for the impact its substandard waste water discharges had on their aquaculture farming and fruit growing areas.
Residents in Tam An and Tam Phuoc communes filed complaints with local authorities demanding more than VND16 billion (US$768,000) in compensation from the company seven months ago when the company was discovered discharging untreated waste water into Ba Cheo canal which flows into Dong Nai river.
No action has been taken so far.
People's Committee Chairman of Tam An Commune Vo Van Luat told Viet Nam News that the pollution caused by the company's waste water had killed a mass of fish and disrupted farming for nearly 200 households in surrounding areas.
"However, we still have to wait for a conclusion about the level of environmental and agricultural damage caused by the company from provincial authorities and related agencies to define the level and method of compensation," he said.
"A delegation from the provincial authorities and department of environment and natural resources took a field trip to the affected areas to assess the damage early this month but we still do not know when to expect the results," Tuan said.
"A similar field trip was made by related agencies in October," he added.
Nguyen Van Phuoc, Director of the HCM City-based Institute of Environment and Resources, which is responsible for assessing the damage, told Viet Nam News yesterday that an assessment of the environmental impacts caused by Sonadezi Long Thanh's waste water was ongoing.
He was unable to provide information about when the assessment results would be available for farmers to seek compensation.
Nguyen Dang Quang, a lawyer from Ha Noi, said the affected farmers could ask the local Farmers Association to petition the provincial People's Committee to require relevant agencies to quickly define the level of damage.
In the event that the provincial People's Committee did not meet farmers' demands, the farmers could file a complaint with higher levels such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and even the Government to deal with the case, Quang said.
Sonadezi Corporation Deputy Director General Chu Thanh Son told Nong thon Ngay nay (Countryside Today) that its affiliate Sonadezi Long Thanh was willing to handle the case in line with regulations upon receipt of a conclusion by authorised agencies.
Sonadezi Long Thanh, which is responsible for treating waste water for 42 companies in Long Thanh Industrial Park in southern Dong Nai Province, was found discharging 9,300 cubic metres of untreated waste water into the river via three underground pipelines in August.
The company was fined VND405 million (US$19,440) for violating the environmental protection law.
According to the Environmental Police Department, the company had discharged 14 million cu.m of untreated waste into Dong Nai river over the past five years. — VNS