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Vietnam’s environment protection chief dismissed over Formosa disaster

Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 18:16 GMT+7

A chief of environmental protection operations under Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has been dismissed for his management oversight that had led to the Formosa disaster last year.

Luong Duy Hanh, director of the Department of Control of Environmental Protection Activities, has been removed from his position, a source close to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper said, quoting the decision of the Vietnam Environment Administration.

Results from the Central Inspection Committee showed that Hanh, during his time in office, failed to correctly monitor the activities of theVietnamese steel subsidiary of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group in the north-central province of Ha Tinh.

Hanh did not partake in the facility’s construction nor piloting phases, an oversight which eventually allowed last year’s environmental disaster to occur.

Last April, mass fish deaths were reported in the country’s four central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien – Hue, which were later found to be caused by toxic wastewater from the nearby Formosa steel plant.

The Taiwanese firm took responsibility for the disaster, pledging to pay US$500 million in compensation to the affected provinces, which was received by the Vietnamese government last August.

Eighty-five percent of the amount has already been given to residents in the four provinces affected by the disaster, with the rest slated to be handed out in June.

According to the Tuoi Tre source, among the officials to blame, Hanh’s responsibility was the most serious.

Hanh has been transferred to work at the legislative department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and was set to begin his new position on Tuesday.

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