A food processing facility in the south-central Vietnamese province of Binh Thuan was discovered to have been releasing wastewater into the ocean, following the death of nearly 4,000 farm-raised fish on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The deaths began Tuesday morning at Nguyen Van Sau’s coastal farm in Tan Thanh Commune, Ham Thuan Nam District, with around 3,000 dead fish recorded by Wednesday afternoon.
Similar incidents occurred at a nearby farming ground operated by Nguyen Duc Loc, accounting for an additional 700 deceased fish.
“I have never seen such a large number of fish deaths,” Sau stated, adding that the epidemic has cost him billions of dong (VND1 billion = US$44,850).
A probe by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters found that a steamed fish processing facility, owned by a man named Thien, was discharging wastewater into the sea area near the two farms.
The waste was released through an underground pipeline that was installed a few months back, according to Thien.
As his products are manufactured only once every ten days, the wastewater is not discharged regularly, the owner said.
“We released the water on Tuesday afternoon but fish of local farmers had already found dead much earlier that morning. I can also ensure that our wastewater does not contain any toxic chemicals,” he continued.
Responding as to why he constructed the pipeline system without formal permission from authorities, Thien explained that he registered for a permit but it was not approved.
Many local fish farmers have expressed concern for their business operations amid the potential harm from wastewater discharged by Thien’s firm and other similar operations.
“We need competent authorities to inspect these firms and their waste treatment system. We want to know how the wastewater affects the aquatic environment,” a farmer asserted.
Tuoi Tre submitted the probe to Nguyen Van Hien, chairman of the People’s Committee in Ham Thuan Nam District.
“The local Office of Natural Resources and Environment and police officers have been tasked with investigating the case. Inspectors were dispatched on Wednesday to the affected fish farms to take reports on the incident,” Hien stated.