Deputy Tran Cong Thuat from Quang Binh province (Source: laodong.com.vn)
Hanoi (VNA) – Legislators expressed their concern over environmental pollution in the central region during the July 29 working day of the 14th National Assembly’s first session.

Tran Cong Thuat, a deputy from the central province of Quang Binh, one of the localities hardest hit by the mass fish deaths in April caused by Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Limited Company, said the incident has had great impacts on people’s lives and local security.

“It has pushed back the local socio-economic development growth, and eroded people’s trust,” he stressed.

Voters in Quang Binh wish that the Government’s regulations concerning compensations for the affected will soon be effectuated, the deputy said, explaining that localities and residents have yet to access some of the compensation policies.

The legislator proposed the State publicise subjects to compensations and the State’s support.

He also emphasised the need to swiftly handle issues relating to locals’ employment, income and livelihood in the long-run.

Quang Binh needs comprehensive assistance from centrally-run agencies as the problem has caused wide-ranging, serious and long-term consequences that go beyond the province’s capacity, the law-maker noted.

Thuat stressed that what locals concern are the clarification of the responsibility of State management agencies as well as the punishment of involved organisations and individuals.

He suggested resolutely bringing to light violations committed by Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Limited Company, which was then found burying waste and waste discharge pipelines illegally.

Questions raised by the public regarding onshore fishing, seafood safety and marine environment should be promptly cleared up by competent agencies, he said.

“We need shrimp, fish and steel. But whether we need Formosa for up to 70 years?” Thuat said, dubbing the company as an environmental bomb that worries everyone.

He, therefore, proposed the Government publicise all information on Formosa and its shareholders.

Ha Sy Dong, a deputy from Quang Tri, said the incident has caused huge socio-economic losses for the province as it interrupted the operation of local hotels, restaurants and travel companies.

The number of tourists to the province dropped by 90 percent compared to the same period last year following the environmental problem, he said.

The parliament should join hands in the repair work by clarifying the responsibility of those concerned, reviewing the legal system in order to close the door to investors who may threaten locals’ lives, and setting forth punishment mechanisms on all involved, even officials out of office, the deputy suggested.

Phan Ngoc Tho, a legislator from Thua Thien-Hue province, called on the Government to continue supervising Formosa’s fulfillment of its commitments and managing production and business facilities nationwide that may cause environmental pollution.

Nguyen Anh Tri, a Hanoi deputy, told the press on the sidelines of the working session that he satisfied with the Government’s report on the incident.

He said substances on coral reefs in the polluted waters are very dangerous and need to be treated immediately, he affirmed, saying he agrees with the Government’s plan to invite international experts to join the recovery efforts.

Regarding the safety of sea water, he said the conclusion will come after thorough and regular research studies and the quality of sea water depends on different areas.

According to the Tri, if local people can prove that their health is harmed by the contaminated water caused by Formosa, they can file a lawsuit against the firm.

On June 30, Formosa Ha Tinh admitted responsibility for the mass fish deaths along the coast of the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue between April and May this year. It pledged to compensate over 11.5 trillion VND (500 million USD) to support local fishermen in changing their jobs and recover the polluted maritime environment.

Besides, the signing of a contract between the Formosa Ha Tinh Company and the Ky Anh Urban Environment Company that allows the former to dump its waste at a farm owned by the latter’s director, violates environmental laws, said Vo Ta Dinh, head of the Ha Tinh provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Formosa was found burying 100 tonnes of waste at the farm of Le Quang Hoa in Ky Trinh ward of Ky Anh town.

According to Dinh, the Ky Anh Urban Environment Company has no function of treating industrial wastes, including industrial sludge.

The Taiwanese firm then was found dumping waste at another landfill in the same town.-VNA