Can the World Community do more than look?

Man-made marine disaster in Vietnam

Can the World Community do more than look?

Thục-Quyên (Save Vietnam´s Nature)

In early April 2016, tones of dead fish began washing up along the coast of Ha Tinh province and neighboring Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces: miles and miles of fishes, countless clams, some occasional whales, seabirds, etc. followed by the death of diver Le Van Ngay after suffering chest pains and breathing difficulties [i], unusual health conditions of his colleagues (tired, chest pain and dizzy after every swim, skin tone changed), illness of hundreds of people from eating seafood, etc. A month later, over 100 tones of dead fishes had been collected. [ii]

It was the tip of an iceberg of pollution and environmental damage crimes:

Soon after the fish death happened, suspicions for what caused such an environmental catastrophe instantly fell on Formosa Ha Tinh Steel FHS – a subsidiary of the conglomerate Taiwanese Formosa Plastics Group – when fisherman Nguyen Xuan Thanh in Ky Anh Town (Ha Tinh Province) informed of a colossal wastepipe from FHS running under the sea that directly discharged “yellowish and foul-smelling water”. [iii]

The company’s initial response that, before acquiring the land they already advised local fishermen to change their jobs, and that, in life people had to make a choice, “either Fish or Steel not both”, soon was followed by a total denial and adamant refusal to accept any responsibility. [iv]

For nearly a whole month, the Vietnamese government hasn´t showed sign to start any investigation, but instead, on April 23, Deputy chairman of the People´s Committee of Ha Tinh Province Dang Ngoc Son made an irresponsible statement, “We can eat seafood such as squid, shrimp, crab which are still alive, and we can also be reassured to swim in these waters” [v] and deputy environment minister Vo Tuan Nhan said “there is no proof yet to conclude a link between Formosa and the facility to the mass fish deaths.”[vi]

Read more: Can the World Community do more than look? 161211 Can the world community do more than look(ThucQuyen)f


[i] Mysterious death of diver adds to ongoing environmental crisis in central Vietnam, Thanh Nien News, April 26, 2016:

[ii] Vietnam’s environmental disaster has killed at least 100 tons of fish: official, Thanh Nien News, May 6, 2016:

Quảng Bình dumps 606 tonnes of contaminated fish, Việt Nam News, Dec 12, 2016:

[iii] Formosa blamed for fish death, Việt Nam News, Jun 30, 2016:  death.html#LrqbP0YK3YijkJmH.97

[iv] Taiwanese firm exec makes shocking remarks over Vietnam’s environmental disaster, Thanh Nien News, Apr 26, 2016:

[v] Deputy Chairman of the People‘s Committee of Ha Tinh Province: „Eat fish and swim in Vung Ang bay without any scruple“, Báo Giao Thông (Transportation News), Apr. 13, 2016:

[vi] Vietnam says no proof Formosa steel plant linked to mass fish deaths, Reuters, Apr. 27, 2016:


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