Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hoà Bình has ordered that phase 1 of sea pollution compensation disbursement must be complete before Tết.
He was speaking at the meeting of the Steering Committee with the focus on discussing measures to help stabilise livelihoods and production for people in the four provinces of the Central Region which were affected by the marine environmental incident earlier this year, the Government Office reported.
He also once again reaffirmed that Decision 1880/QĐ-TTg issued on September 29 is to cover all groups of people affected by the pollution – including seafood harvesting, aquatic breeding, salt production, coastal seafood business activities, fishing logistics, coastal tourism services and seafood stockpiling and purchase. Relevant authorities should refrain from proposing expansions to the list of affected groups unless ordered by the Government.
Chairmen of the people’s committees of the four affected provinces – Quảng Bình, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Huế – are required to give full attention to easing obstacles that inhibit the progress of paying compensation for local people in the first phase of the compensation to help them overcome initial hardship and get back on their feet, with Tết (Lunar New Year) being the deadline.
Upon receiving directives from the Prime Minister, based on best practices garnered through the first phrase, compensation money in the second phrase must be swiftly disbursed to ensure local production and people’s livelihoods return to normal.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) is ordered to step up its efforts in informing the public that the sea environment has recovered and safety is ensured.
The Ministry of Health, together with MoNRE and Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology, must immediately conduct scientific research to assess the quality and safety of deep-sea seafood resources within 20km of the coastline, and report to the Government.
Classify stored seafood by quality
On handling unsold seafood that have been contaminated and needed to be destroyed, Deputy Prime Minister asked the four provincial people’s committees to urgently pay compensation based on approved unit price volume, completed before December 25.
On the other hand, unsold seafood that is considered safe must be classified by quality: seafood that are safe for human consumption, and degraded seafood that can only be used in animal feed or be destroyed. Each category will be taken stock of and the chairmen of the four provinces are responsible for the inventory results.
Recommended compensation level for each category will be sent to the inter-sectoral task force helmed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade – which will also be assigned with the task of verifying the inventory results.
Deputy Prime Minister Bình also demanded that the Ministry of Information and Communication increases its information dissemination campaigns, ensuring wide coverage of the results of the compensation and support activities as well as the strict penalties levelled against the polluter - the steel plant Formosa corporation.
The Deputy Prime Minister assigned the Supreme People’s Court, People’s Procuracy, and the Supreme Court to issue directives and guidance to local procuracies to handle people’s complaints in line with existing laws and be willing to cooperate in cases of contingencies.
The mass fish deaths were first reported on April 6 when a large number of fish washed ashore in Hà Tĩnh Province. It soon spread to Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế provinces.
Serious pollution also affected over 260,000 people who earn their living by working at sea.
Late in June, Hưng Nghiệp Formosa Hà Tĩnh Steel Corporation accepted responsibility for the mass fish deaths and pledged to compensate over VNĐ11.5 trillion ($500 million) to support local fishermen and to help recover the polluted marine environment. — VNS