Viet Nam News
HÀ TĨNH — Tonnes of jellyfish and seafood affected by last year’s Formosa toxic spill have not been destroyed in Hà Tĩnh Province’s Lộc Hà District, and have started stinking, the e-newspaper Dân Trí reported.
Tuyết Anh, a dry and frozen seafood store owner, has 14 tonnes of sea jellyfish and 78 tonnes of dried seafood, all past their expiry date, in her store. No way has been found to destroy them.
“Jellyfish has to be used within three months. It has now been one year, and it is stinking. It’s difficult to destroy all this. We want local authorities to take strong measures to deal with it. We are really miserable,” Anh said.
Lê Viết Huy from Lộc Hà District’s Thạch Bằng Commune told Dân Trí that nearly 50 tonnes of jellyfish in his store have rotted and is stinking up the place. “We collected the jellyfish last April for the tourist season, but we were unable to sell them after the environmental disaster that affected the central provinces,” he said.
Residents living near these seafood stores are also troubled by the stench and said they are waiting for authorities to solve the problem urgently.
According to Hà Tĩnh Province’s People’s Committee, around 839 tonnes of sea jellyfish remain in stores, worth around VNĐ42 billion (US$1.87 million). Lộc Hà District has the largest volume.
Hà Minh Tân, chairman of Thạch Kim Commune’s People’s Committee, said that people selling jellyfish, fish sauce, dried fish and shredded pork are not eligible for compensation as per a Government’s decision on the issue. “We submitted a report to district- and province-level authorities, but we have not got any feedback,” he said.
Nguyễn Duy Bính, chairman of Thạch Bằng Commune’s People’s Committee, said he knows about the problem, “but commune- and district-level officials are not authorised to address the issue,” he said, adding that they are awaiting instructions from higher-level authorities.
The mass fish deaths, one of the most serious environmental incidents in Việt Nam, began on April 6 last year in Hà Tĩnh Province’s Kỳ Anh Town as a result of the toxic spill from the Taiwanese Hưng Nghiệp Formosa Hà Tĩnh Steel Corporation located in the area.
Over the next nine days, fishermen and local residents along the central coast found tonnes of dead fish continuously washing up on the shore southwards, from Quảng Bình to Quảng Trị, and later down to Thừa Thiên-Huế, dozens of kilometres away from the tourist city of Đà Nẵng.
Nearly 300 tonnes of dead fishes, including farmed fish from the sea, washed up on the beaches, causing an estimated loss of around VNĐ260 billion ($11.5 million). At least 123,000 fishermen and locals who rely on the sea for a living or who work in the tourism industry were severely affected by the marine environmental disaster. — VNS