Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The central region’s sea post-Formosa is now safe for all human activity, the environment minister affirmed this morning.
"The central region’s sea has been concluded safe based on analyses of the sediment, the seabed water and the surface water. Sports activities or aquaculture can be carried out normally," Natural Resources and Environment Minister Trần Hồng Hà said at a cabinet hearing at the National Assembly (NA) this morning.
The hearing session for minister Hà started yesterday afternoon and continued till this morning as he was grilled by the NA over the unprecedented environmental catastrophe along the 200km coastline this April, caused by a steel corporation of the Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa.
In August, the sea was declared by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) as relatively safe for human activity in most of the areas.
Regarding the safety of seafood harvested in the disaster-affected region, Hà said the Ministry of Health (MoH) responsible for the examination was constantly cooperating with international analysis agencies to determine the final conclusion.
"I believe the health ministry will soon announce that all the seafood from the central region is safe to eat," he said.
The MoH earlier warned residents to avoid eating particular seafood living in the seabed within 13.5 nautical miles of the coast of the four provinces of Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế.
The alert has not been lifted since then.
Hưng Nghiệp Formosa Hà Tĩnh, which admitted to causing the toxic disaster that killed over 100 tonnes of fish, was concluded to have a perfect environment-safety record in January, barely three months before the mass fish deaths occurred.
MoNRE, the ministry that released the report, later announced Formosa had violated up to 53 environmental regulations.
Minister Hà explained that the earlier controversial report was made following an inspection conducted in September 2015 when Formosa was still under construction. The inspectors, therefore, failed to notice technology problems of the steel mill.
The ministry, however, was looking into the responsibilities of the officials in charge of Formosa.
"When the final conclusion is drawn, we will publicly announce it to the residents," Hà said. — VNS