Millions of dead fish wash up on Vietnam's coast

05/16/2016 19:18

Some of the dead fish which have washed up on the coast of Vietnam, as reported by locals on Facebook.

Bangkok: Millions of fish have washed up dead along a 125-kilometre stretch of the Vietnamese coast in one of the communist country's worst environmental disasters.

Soldiers have been deployed to bury tonnes of fish, clams and the occasional whale that began dying in early April along the north-central coast, including some popular tourist beaches.

Vietnamese officials facing growing anger over the disaster have not announced the official cause of the deaths, which have affected the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families.

Some officials have suggested it may be toxins or algal blooms known as red tide.

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But Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered an investigation into how a Taiwanese-owned steel plant received approval to pipe waste directly into the sea.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, a unit of Tawain's Formosa Plastics, is looking to raise its investment in the area from $US10.5 billion ($14.2 billion) to $US28.5 billion.

The company's executive vice-president, Chang Fu-ning, said the steel plant's treatment system had received all appropriate approvals.

"It's beyond doubt," he said.

Mr Phuc said his government is determined to track down the main culprits with "objectivity, honesty, prudence and urgency."

"No one is allowed to cover up any infringements. The government is determined to protect the people's rightful interests," he said.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of several cities on May 1 to demand the government takes swift action to end the pollution in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hua provinces. SMH

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