|Mud and waste water pollutes the river in central Quảng Nam Province’s Tam Lãnh Commune. Local residents blamed a local gold mining company for causing the pollution. – Photo baotainguyenmoitruong.vn|
QUẢNG NAM — The Quảng Nam Province authorities and a local gold mining company are probing if a rupture in the wastewater dam triggered the massive fish deaths in two rivers some days ago.
Bùi Văn Ga, head of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s Natural Minerals Office, said the department cooperated with the environmental protection authority of the central region to carry out an inspection on the 6666 Industrial Minerals JSC, located in Bồng Miêu gold mine in Phú Ninh District’s Tam Lãnh Commune.
Once the rupture in the wastewater dam is located, the company will be asked to repair it quickly to prevent further spillage into the rivers nearby, according to Ga.
On the morning of March 17, the local people noted that a foul smell was emanating from the river and dead fish were floating on it. They claimed that the wastewater dam of the 6666 Industrial Minerals JSC had broken, leading to hundreds of cubic metres of waste water and mud flowing into Bồng Miêu and Quế Phương rivers.
They protested and demanded that the company stop operating.
Nguyễn Thế Vinh, chairman of Tam Lãnh Commune’s People’s Committee, said that after getting a report from local residents, the committee decided to check the situation.
Vinh said all the dead fish had been collected by then.
However, Trương Quốc Sỹ, director of the company, told danviet.vn that the company had stopped its operation for years, and the dam contained only rainwater.
A few days ago, the company planted trees around the dam, following which water was seen spilling out of the dam.
Toxic water could not have killed the fish, he said.
Sỹ said the company had invited the provincial department to inspect the dam, which took water samples to conduct tests and make sure it was safe for fish.
According to Sỹ, the massive fish death was likely caused by illegal gold mines along the two rivers, adding that he would wait for the final conclusion from authorised agencies and would inform the affected residents soon. — VNS