Authorities demand factory blamed for river pollution to be closed

By Le Hoang   May 10, 2016 | 04:36 am PT
Authorities demand factory blamed for river pollution to be closed
Farm-raised fish died en masse in Thach Thanh district, Thanh Hoa province : Le Hoang
Authorities in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa have asked the government to close a sugar factory in Hoa Binh suspected of being responsible for polluting a local river.

On May 4, people in Thanh Hoa woke up to thousands of dead fish floating on the Buoi River. The water had also turned a muddy color and started to smell. Over the following days, dead fish were found along a 30 kilometer stretch of the river running through Thach Thanh district.

Thanh Hoa People’s Committee identified Hoa Binh Sugarcane JSC (in Hoa Binh province) as the possible reason for the mass fish deaths along the Buoi River. The company admitted to discharging unprocessed wastewater into the river in late April and early May, according to Le Van Binh, head of the Environmental Protection Unit under Thanh Hoa’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

At a meeting with authorities on May 5, factory leaders said that from March 15 to April 23, 250-300 cubic meters of wastewater had been discharged every day.

The committee has reported the incident to the Prime Minister, saying the pollution in the Buoi River has severely affected local living condition. A petition has also been sent to the government, asking for the factory in Hoa Binh to be shut.

At the same time, requests have been made to assess the pollution levels and find solutions to cope with the disaster from Thanh Hoa’s authorities. Poilce in Thanh Hoa have sent samples of the dead fish and river water to experts at the Institute of Criminal Science and Technology for investigation.

Up until 10:00 a.m. on May 7, Thanh Hoa had recorded a total of 17.4 tons of dead fish on fish farms located along the river.

Another major river in Thanh Hoa - the Lach Bang – has also been hit, with several tons of dead fish reported. According to local authorities, 20 households had set up fish farms in the docking area near Lach Bang, but only four have reported dead fish.

Following an initial investigation, authorities have determined that the source of the contaminated water in Lach Bang is from ships using the port. The area was specifically designed for shipping and the local fish farms were set up without permission.

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