Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – More than 17 tonnes of fish raised in cages in the northern Thanh Hóa Province’s Thạch Thành District have died due to contaminated water, Voice of Vietnam (VOV) reported yesterday.
The dead fish, belonging to households in the district’s communes of Thạch Lâm, Thạch Quảng, Thành Mỹ, and Thành Vinh, were found from Wednesday to Saturday, according to local authorities.
Investigations showed that a huge amount of waste water released from cassava starch and sugar plants in nearby Hòa Bình province without proper treatment had caused the mass fish deaths.
“The mass fish deaths are extremely serious, causing heavy losses for breeders but also puzzling more than 1,000 local households that use water from the Bưởi River, processed by Kim Tân Water Plant, and affecting seven communes in Vĩnh Lộc District which lie downstream of the river,” Standing Deputy Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Nguyễn Đức Quyền, said.
Quyền toured with local relevant bodies and departments to examine and the fish deaths in Thạch Thành District on Saturday.
He asked the district to help affected households stabilise their lives.
He also assigned the provincial police to investigate the waste water discharge and any environmental law violations committed by plants in Hòa Bình Province.
“If the investigation results in enough evidence, the case will be prosecuted,” Quyền told VOV.
Quyền criticised the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment for acting slowly in sampling water to identify the cause of the incident. He asked the department to work with relevant bodies and the Thạch Thành District’s People’s Committee to properly deal with the dead fish to avoid further pollution.
He called for relevant agencies to immediately work with Hòa Bình Province to issue an official document, requiring the plants suspected to be involved to stop operation.
According to the Head of the Thanh Hóa Province’s environment department, Lê Văn Bình, the Hòa Bình Sugar Joint-Stock Company based in Tân Mỹ Commune, Lạc Sơn District, Hòa Bình Province admitted to releasing untreated waste water into the upstream Bưởi River.
“The practice took place for many consecutive days from the second half of April to early May, causing the mass fish deaths,” said Bình.
In an official explanation to relevant authorities, the company said its sugar plant was on an experimental run, so the waste water treatment system had been completed. — VNS