HA NOI – Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Pham Khoi Nguyen on Monday said the authorities were finalising estimates on compensation claims against the Vedan company, which was responsible for major pollution in the Thi Vai River.
In 2008, Taiwanese-owned monosodium-gluta-mate maker Vedan was found to have been discharging untreated toxic waste into the river via a secret pipeline for a period of 16 years.
The pollution affected nine communities in the two southern provinces of Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau as well as HCM City, where farmers suffered considerable losses to seafood farms and agricultural land.
Since the violation was uncovered, Vedan has paid VND267.5 million ($14,000) in fines and closed down four of its factories.
Minister Nguyen said the ministry’s experts had participated in assessing the impact of the pollution on aqua-culture production.
The worst hit areas were Phuoc An and Long Tho communes (Nhon Trach District) and Long Phuoc and Phuoc Thai communes (Long Thanh District) in Dong Nai Province; and Phu My town and My Xuan and Tan Phuoc communes (Tan Thanh District) in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
Director of the General Department on the Environment, Bui Cach Tuyen, said Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province had already announced a compensation level of VND53 billion (US$2.78 million) while HCM City had set its compensation level at VND45 billion ($2.36 million).
“Only Dong Nai Province has yet to send its initial report to the ministry,” said Tuyen.
He said that if Vedan refused to accept the compensation claim, a process of arbitration would be required.
In another development, the environment ministry plans to co-operate with the Ministry of Transport to better tackle air pollution.
Tuyen said up to 70 per cent of air pollution in urban areas was a result of transportation.
“The two ministries have worked together in developing and publishing new regulations on exhaust fumes standards for the motorbikes and cars and on measure to enforce these rules,” he said.
The two ministries also agreed to boost co-operation by involving the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in environment protection work related to key transport projects. —VNS
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