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Vietnam Probes Harmful Waste Dumping From Taiwanese Firm

  • Associated Press

FILE- In this April 28, 2016, file photo, villagers bury dead fish on a beach in Quang Binh, Vietnam. Toxic waste discharged from a Taiwanese-owned Formosa Plastics Group steel complex unit in central Vietnam harmed the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people, including 41,000 fishermen, the Vietnamese government said on Friday in tallying the damage from what it has called the country’s worst environmental disaster according to local media. The company has pledged to pay $500 million in compensation.

FILE- In this April 28, 2016, file photo, villagers bury dead fish on a beach in Quang Binh, Vietnam. Toxic waste discharged from a Taiwanese-owned Formosa Plastics Group steel complex unit in central Vietnam harmed the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people, including 41,000 fishermen, the Vietnamese government said on Friday in tallying the damage from what it has called the country’s worst environmental disaster according to local media. The company has pledged to pay $500 million in compensation.

Vietnamese police have launched an investigation into the illegal dumping of harmful waste material from a Taiwanese steel company already under fire for massive fish deaths in what officials say was the country's worst environmental disaster.

Bui Dinh Quang, deputy police chief in Ha Tinh province where a unit of the Formosa Plastics Group is located, said a local company was the target of the investigation after police last month caught the company burying the industrial waste at a private farm.

About 390 tons of the waste was buried in two places, including on the private farm in Ha Tinh province, Quang said.

He said tests by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment confirmed the waste contained harmful levels of cyanide.

Quang said Formosa and its executives will also be investigated for signing a contract with the local company, which was not authorized to handle harmful industrial waste.

Formosa acknowledged in June that it was responsible for the pollution that killed large numbers of fish off the central Vietnamese coast, and pledged to pay $500 million to clean it up and compensate affected people.

The government in a report to the National Assembly last month said the disaster harmed the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people, including 41,000 fishermen in four central provinces.

An estimated 115 tons of fish washed ashore along more than 200 kilometers (125 miles) of Vietnam's central coast in April, the report said. The pollution sparked rare protests across the country.

Formosa's $10.6 billion steel complex in Ha Tinh province includes a steel plant, a power plant and a deep sea port and is one of the largest foreign investments in Vietnam.

Toxins including cyanide and carbolic acids were released into the sea during a test run of the plant.

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