Sugar factory fined $21,500 for pollution, mass fish deaths in Thanh Hoa river

By Le Hoang   May 13, 2016 | 09:05 pm PT
The factory in the northern Hoa Binh province will be fined VND480 million ($21,470) and suspended for six months for polluting Buoi River, causing mass fish deaths in Thanh Hoa, said Nguyen Tran Anh, Deputy Director of Hoa Binh Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

During six months of suspension, Hoa Binh Sugarcane and Sugar JSC has to redress the contamination after it discharged untreated wastewater illegally to Buoi River.

According to Anh, in the next six months, the factory has to complete an environmental impact assessment and develop a wastewater treatment system that meets the standard. Once the state authorities confirm the factory conforms to all requirements, it will be allowed to resume operations. “If the factory is caught secretly operating, they will face grave consequences,” said Anh.


Wastewater treatment in the sugar factory has been identified as sub-standard. Photo by Lam Son

In response to comments that the six month suspension is meaningless because the sugarcane season has ended, Anh said: “The penalty is based on existing regulations, which state suspension may last from three to six months. However, during this time, if the company continues to violate the rules, the penalty will be increased.”

Yesterday, the company said it would pay VND1.4 billion ($63,000) in compensation to hundreds of fish farmers who have suffered from the mass fish deaths along the Buoi River.

The compensation is calculated based on the market price of VND80,000 per kilogram for more than 17 tons of fish that were killed by polluted water, affecting 34 households in the area.

Local residents discovered dead fish floating in the river on May 4, and said the water had turned a muddy blue color and started to smell.

Since then, more than 17 tons of fish belonging to 34 farmers in Thach Thanh district in Thanh Hoa have died, statistics from the district's People’s Committee show.

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