The Vietnamese subsidiary of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group has been found burying a huge amount of wastes inside a farm run by the director of a local environment company in the north-central province of Ha Tinh, officials said.
The waste burial was detected on Monday by the provincial environmental police unit at the yard of the farm run by Le Quang Hoa, director of the urban environment company of the local town of Ky Anh.
Le Nam Son, head of the inspectorate of the province’s environment department, confirmed the incident to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday morning.
“After detecting that waste had been disposed underground the farm of Hoa, we dug them up and found there were some 100 metric tons of them,” Son said.
Officials have also taken samples of the wastes for tests to see if they are toxic, the chief inspector added.
“We are still waiting for the test results,” he said, adding the case has been booked and penalties now await the involved parties, as per the law.
Vo Ta Dinh, director of the Ha Tinh environmental department, said he will work directly with Formosa and the Ky Anh urban environment company on the waste burial.
Asked as to who will be held responsible for the incident, Dinh said it depends.
“It is not a great deal if the wastes are normal garbage, but if they are hazardous wastes, Formosa has to testify as to why they broke their environmental protection commitment,” Dinh elaborated.
“The urban environment company will also have to make it clear with the environment department if disposing waste underground is among its designated functions.”
Dinh added he had briefed higher-level authorities of what he said is “an unacceptable incident,” adding those involved will be strictly sanctioned.
In the meantime, Hoa, the director of the involved company, said the wastes were household wastes of the Formosa plant.
“There were some mud, resulted from the wastewater treatment system of the Formosa plant, among the wastes, and they were not hazardous,” he asserted.
Formosa has a steel mill at Vung Ang Economic Zone in Ha Tinh. The plant last month admitted to dumping untreated wastewater to the ocean, leading to the mass fish deaths along four coastal Vietnamese provinces between April and May.