Viet Nam News
HÀ TĨNH — Large areas of sea in the central province of Hà Tĩnh are being polluted by untreated waste from local shrimp farming activities.
Đại Tiến Village in Thạch Hà District continues to record the highest counts of bacteria that cause liver diseases in the province, Nhân Dân (People) newspaper reported.
Along the village’s 500 metres of coastline, five shrimp farming operations span 200 hectares. The farms release untreated waste every day through a local drainage system that has not been working properly for years.
Unauthorised shrimp farming activities add to the pollution. Out of 119 ha of shrimp farming areas in Cẩm Xuyên District, 50 ha were not permitted by local authorities.
Most unsanctioned areas do not have sediment ponds, and often discharge wastewater straight into the sea without proper treatment. The polluted water can be spread far and wide by weather events, dramatically increasing the risk of disease during storms.
One example of inadequate water treatment is the sand shrimp farming area of Nguyễn Viết Khánh in Nghi Xuân District, a 2.5 ha farming area without any treatment facilities. It discharges waste into a canal that runs directly into the sea.
The Tiến Đạt Construction Joint Stock Company, based in Lộc Hà District, was fined twice for discharging untreated wastewater. It was fined VNĐ435 million (US$18,700) in July and VNĐ65 million ($2,800) last year.
Nguyễn Công Hoàng, head of the Hà Tĩnh Province Fishery Department, said the province requires aspiring shrimp farmers to submit an environmental impact assessment and environmental protection plans.
“However, many of them do not comply with our environmental protection measures. This negatively impacts the environment and reduces their efficiency,” he said.
A provincial environmental protection branch leader said they have failed to conduct frequent inspections of farming areas, resulting in low awareness of environmental regulations among farmers.
Shrimp farmers in Thạch Hà District are suffering from a reduction in yield because of the deteriorating quality of the water supply. While the area’s 12ha of shrimp farms produced 100 tonnes in previous years, they have yielded only 11 tonnes this year.
Farmer Hoàng Đức Lâm said almost all his shrimp died from hepatopancreatitis disease and white feces syndrome.
“I stocked 1 million shrimp, and most of them died after 45 days in the water,” he told Báo Hà Tĩnh. “I lost about VNĐ200 million ($8,600).”
Hồ Viết Lý, an agricultural official of Thạch Khê Commune in the district, said the diseases were caused by contaminated water.
“We should have divided the shrimp farming areas to ensure they were using good quality water,” he said. “And we should have had a proper waste treatment system to ensure untreated water is not released into the environment.” — VNS