A business has been discovered dumping dead swine into a major river in southern Vietnam, causing serious contamination of one of the primary water sources in the region.
Viet Phuoc, a company specializing in agricultural products based in Binh Phuoc Province, north of Ho Chi Minh City, was caught disposing of the animal corpses into the Saigon River on Friday last week.
Over 60 dead pigs were thrown onto the river bank located on the river’s upstream, many of which were then hurled directly into the water, Pham Van Hoang, deputy director of the Binh Phuoc Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, confirmed.
According to Saigon Water Company, the Saigon River is one of the city’s two main water sources, the other being the Dong Nai River.
The Saigon River flows from the Vietnam-Cambodia border in Binh Phuoc through the provinces of Tay Ninh, Binh Duong, and Ho Chi Minh City.
The swine have since been salvaged and destroyed by the authorities after they were deemed to be polluting the water, Hoang continued, adding that provincial police, in coordination with veterinary officers, had made reports of the case.
“A fine of over VND400 million [US$17,936] has also been suggested to be imposed upon the firm,” the deputy director stated.
Dead animals at Viet Phuoc were previously destroyed in the facility’s incinerator, with the entire procedure closely monitored by local authorities, he elaborated.
However, the illegal dumping by the Saigon River was carried out secretly, Hoang continued, adding that police were only aware of the wrongdoing after being notified by local residents.
“The company claimed the breakdown of their incinerator to be an excuse for their actions. This is a serious violation of environmental protection laws,” the official explained.
Viet Phuoc Company is located near the upstream of the Saigon River covering an area dozens of hectares across, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters' observations.
Several ditches run from the firm and empty into the river, where the water was a foul-smelling dark green color.
The firm is legally represented by a Taiwanese man named Li Kuo Hui, the journalists said, adding that they were refused a meeting with the company leader.
N.V.P., a fisherman operating along the Saigon River, recalled that about three kilograms of fish had died of unknown causes between July 6 and 10.
T.T.L., a local living near the company, added that the number of aquatic animals upstream has declined in recent years due to the polluted water.
Meanwhile, N.T.H., a former employee of Viet Phuoc, said there had previously been about 50 dead swine at the firm on a daily basis.
“The incinerator occasionally broke down. I am not sure how they disposed of the dead pigs when it happened,” H. stated.