Authorities in the southern Vietnamese province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau fined a local company specializing in producing fish feed VND372 million (US$16,100) and suspended its operations on Friday for discharging wastewater in excess into the environment, resulting in the color change of a lagoon to bright pink.
According to the penalty decision signed by provincial chairman Nguyen Cong Vinh, the wastewater released from the facility of Nghe Huynh Co.,Ltd in Tan Hai Commune in Phu My Town into the lagoon that connects to the sewer gate No. 6 exceeded the standard by more than ten times.
Since March 20, the lagoon has gradually changed from its original black color to yellow, then purple before reaching its current state of bright pink.
During the inspection across seafood processing companies in Tan Hai, Ba Ria – Vung Tau authorities discovered that Nghe Huynh’s wastewater discharge was the cause of the lagoon’s color change.
|A lagoon turns into bright pink due to wastewater released from a facility producing fish feed in Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, Vietnam, April 1, 2021. Photo: Manh Kha / Tuoi Tre|
In addition to the fine of VND372 million, the authorities also punished Nghe Huynh Co.,Ltd with a suspension of 4.5 months.
According to the functional forces, many fishery processing factories which used to be situated in Tan Hai had also discharged wastewater directly into the lagoon before, causing a harmful phenomenon known as algal bloom.
Agal bloom is the rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in freshwater or marine water systems, and is often recognized by the discoloration in the water from its pigments.
When the sewer gate No. 6 opened, the polluted water flew into the Cha Va River and caused mass fish death.
|Officers sample the wastewater discharged from a facility producing fish feed into a lagoon in Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, Vietnam. Photo: Dong Ha / Tuoi Tre|
Many fish farmers along the river filed lawsuit against the aforementioned fishery processing factories in Tan Hai.
The accused side then ended up compensating VND13 billion ($564,700) to the fish farmers.
Ba Ria - Vung Tau authorities have since also closed the violated factories and relocated them to another place.
At present, only factories with small capacity and meeting the environmental protection requirements have operated near the lagoon.
Nghe Huynh Co., Ltd. was one of them, but it broke the rules.