Farmers lodge complaints, demand compensation from polluting firm

TN News

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Eleven households in the southern province of Dong Nai lodged complaints on Monday against the state-owned Sonadezi Corporation for damaging their seafood farms by discharging sewage into a local river.

The farmers in Tam An Commune, Long Thanh District, filed complaints with the commune People's Committee demanding compensation from the company for their losses.

A local source said another 100 households are calculating their damages before lodging complaints with the authorities.

Last Thursday, Vietnamese environmental police found the company's waste treatment plant discharging untreated sewage into the Dong Nai River.

Police are still investigating the plant's waste treatment process and testing sewage samples before issuing charges against the company.

After the news broke, residents living near the plant told the press they would file complaints asking the company to compensate them for years of damages.

Nguyen Van Liem, a 77-year-old farmer, said he had lodged a complaint in 2006 after shrimp and fish in his eight ponds died from the river's polluted water.

"I twice lodged complaints against the company but I received no replies," he said.

Vo Van Luat, chairman of the Tam An Commune People's Committee, said the Sonadezi Corporation the main investor in industrial zones in Dong Nai Province had been fined a couple of years ago for dumping excessive sewage, but they soon relapsed into the act.

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"In the past, when no industrial zones were built, our commune had abundant sources of seafood and fruit," he said.

"Pollution has destroyed orchards and seafood farming over the last few years."

On Monday, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Bui Cach Tuyen told Thanh Nien that any company, whether private or state owned, Vietnamese or foreign-invested, would be punished equally for violations of environmental regulations.

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