People dispose of dead fish found on the central coast in April (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) is regularly and continuously monitoring production activities of the Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co Ltd, whose waste discharge caused huge environmental and social impacts in the central region of Vietnam.

Formosa Ha Tinh accepted responsibility for the mass fish deaths along the coast of the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue. The pollution damaged about 400 hectares of coral and affected over 260,000 people who earn their living by working in sea-related activities.

The company pledged to compensate over 11.5 trillion VND (500 million USD), which will be used to support local fishermen in changing their jobs and recover the polluted maritime environment. It also vowed to deal with shortcomings and limitations in waste and wastewater treatment.

MoNRE Minister Tran Hong Ha said the ministry will set up a council for supervising Formosa’s remedies until the firm completely fulfills its commitments. The MoNRE will also build a modern marine environment monitoring system to detect environmental changes in a timely manner and take countermeasures.

Although the company pledged to replace the production technology it is applying with more environmentally friendly equipment, the change will take three years to be completed. Hence, MoNRE has demanded Formosa improve its wastewater treatment system to ensure all treated wastewater will meet Vietnam’s standards before being released to the sea.

Aside from the system automatically supervising six wastewater parameters as regulated in MoNRE’s permit granted to Formosa, Ha Tinh province’s administration also ordered the company to install more equipment to monitor six other parameters and automatically take wastewater samples.

If the statistics exceed the permissible levels, the discharge system will automatically pump wastewater back to storage tanks.

The ministry will also keep a close watch on the treatment of exhaust fumes and solid waste released by the company, Ha added.-VNA