Vietnam province launches criminal probe into Formosa-related waste burial

By Duc Hung   August 3, 2016 | 06:48 am GMT+7
Vietnam province launches criminal probe into Formosa-related waste burial
Waste from Formosa found in a farm in Ha Tinh Province. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung

Yet another fine has been levied on the Taiwanese mass fish killer Formosa Ha Tinh Steel.

Police in the central province of Ha Tinh on Tuesday announced that they would launch criminal probe into organizations and individuals who have been involved in the burial of 100 tons of Formosa’s industrial waste discovered last month.

The decision was made after the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment earlier in the day concluded that the content of cyanide, a toxic substance, in some samples of the dumped waste was above permitted levels.

The black mud, including soil and rock, which were illegally buried, are industrial waste containing hazardous waste. They must be handled by an authorized waste treatment company in accordance with regulations on hazardous waste, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Urban Environment Company (UEC) in Ha Tinh’s Ky Anh District, which was hired by Formosa Ha Tinh Steel to handle its waste, is not authorized to process industrial waste. The contract between the two companies, therefore, has no legal basis, Ha Tinh police said.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Formosa will be fined for failing to classify its waste in accordance with local law and transferring waste to an unauthorized company.

The ministry will also ask Formosa to cooperate with UEC to process the black mud. They are subject to bearing all cost of the handling.

Taiwanese company Formosa hit the headlines recently for causing one of the biggest environmental disasters in Vietnamese history, killing tons of fish across four coastal provinces. The company’s test-run led to the discharge of toxic substances into the sea, including phenol, cyanide and iron hydroxide.

The company has officially apologized to the Vietnamese people and promised to pay compensation of $500 million to make up for the damage.

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