Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Limited Company Chairman Chen Yuan Cheng on June 30 accepted responsibility and offered an apology to Vietnamese people, especially the residents in the four central coastal provinces for causing the environmental problem sparking mass fish deaths that has seriously affected the people’s daily lives and production, as well as the local maritime environment.
Since early May, Ha Tinh province allocated VND6.05 billion (roughly US$272,000) from its budget to purchase rice in support of more than 6,250 households in Ky Anh district directly affected by the environmental pollution.
Nearly 900 kg or rice from the national reserves was also distributed to some 10,700 households in Cam Xuyen, Thach Ha, Loc Ha and Nghi Xuan districts and Ky Anh town.
Besides, over 4,680 fishing boat owners in the locality also received accumulated financial support of VND21.6 billion (US$972,000).
The province has rolled out a range of policies to accelerate the purchase of salt and seafood from local farmers while the provincial Fatherland Front Committee and Red Cross Association have mobilised more than VND18 billion (US$810,000) to assist those hit by the outrage.
Local fishermen have resumed their sailings, garnering an estimated 7,847 tonnes of seafood just from May 10 to June 21.
Efforts have been stepped up to help locals transform production models and acquire new jobs, attract more domestic and foreign investment projects, and protect the environment.
Meanwhile, Quang Binh province, which has been hardest hit by the environmental incident, has, apart from providing rice in relief aid for the affected farmers, also rendered financial support to fishing boats and granted licences to safe aquaculture products.
The province has taken a host of solutions to spur tourism development, especially maritime tourism, since the environmental incident has caused a decrease in the number of tourists to the province. Tourism has been identified as Quang Binh’s economic spearhead sector.
Quang Tri province is also mobilising all resources to recover after the case, which has received appraisal from local people.
The central province of Thua Thien-Hue have encouraged local fishermen to set sails far off 20 nautical miles and kept a close watch on their voyages as well as fish and sea water quality.
Rice and money have come to the environmental pollution-stricken households while preferential interest rates have been offered to businesses which purchase seafood and local people to help them stablise their production.
Initial statistics from the four provinces reported some 277 tonnes of dead fish – both washed up on the beaches and farmed fish from the sea, causing estimated economic losses totaling more than VND260 billion (US$11.5 million).
Further, at least 123,000 fishermen and locals who rely on the sea for a living or who work in the tourism industry were severely affected by the incident. This has not taken into account the damages to the local environment.
On June 30, Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Limited Company, after admitting its link to the fish deaths, offered a total compensation of VND11.5 trillion (equivalent to US$500 million), which will be used to support local fishermen to switch to other jobs and recover the polluted maritime environment.
In the same vein, Formosa pledged to absolutely deal with shortcomings and limitations in waste and wastewater treatment, improve its production technologies to ensure waste is completely treated before being discharged to the environment as required by Vietnamese State management agencies, and not to repeat such incident.