Farmers drop lawsuit against Taiwanese river polluter

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Farmers in the southern province of Dong Nai Wednesday decided not to sue Taiwanese-owned Vedan Company for damages caused by its polluting a local river, VnExpress reported Thursday.


Dong Nai farmers, instead, will ask for VND70-75 billion (US$3.6-3.9 million) in support from the monosodium glutamate maker, which was found discharging untreated wastewater into the Thi Vai River in 2008, according to the news source.


Local farmers are facing many difficulties in collecting evidence for the damages, a representative of the a ssociation told the news website after a meeting that day.


Worse still, farmers can't afford court fees 5 percent of the claimed damages, according to the representative.


Last month, the Dong Nai People's Committee asked Vedan to pay local affected farmers VND119.58 billion (nearly $6.3 million) in compensation, local newspaper Tuoi Tre reported.


Farmers had previously asked for VND1.6 trillion ($84.4 million) in compensation, but later had to re-calculate damages in accordance with a study by Ho Chi  Minh City Vietnam National University's Institute of Environment and Natural Resources.


The study proposed that the company should compensate farmers in Dong Nai, and the coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and HCMC, through which Thi Vai flows, with a total of VND1,698.7 billion ($89 million).


In the meantime, farmers associations in HCMC and Vung Tau said they will still bring their compensation claims to court, VnExpress said.


Farmers in the southern hub asked for VND45.7 billion ($2.4 million) and those in Ba Ria Vung Tau demanded VND220 billion ($11.5 million), according to the news source.


Investigators said Vedan had been dumping the untreated waste in the Thi Vai via secret pipes for 14 years, severly damaging and destroying aquaculture and farms along the river.


Over the period, the company dumped 105 million liters of untreated wastewater into the river each month



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