It is now Hoi An's turn to allay concerns about water, seafood safety

By Hua Xuyen Huynh, Thanh Nien News

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Cham Island is among popular destinations for visitors to Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam. Photo: Hua Xuyen Huynh/Thanh Nien Cham Island is among popular destinations for visitors to Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam. Photo: Hua Xuyen Huynh/Thanh Nien

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Authorities in the central town of Hoi An on Wednesday announced that waters off its coast are safe, dismissing social media reports that fish have been killed due to contamination spreading from neighboring provinces to its north. 
The tourist town said tests of water samples taken at seven different spots around the famous Cham Island found all elements, including heavy metals, are within safe limits.
The town said its marine environment has not been affected by whatever environmental crisis in nearby provinces.
Hundreds of tons of fish were washed ashore in the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue since early April, apparently killed by industrial effluents.
Suspicion has centered on Taiwanese-invested Formosa, which admitted it has a large sewage pipe going straight from its steel plant in Ha Tinh's Vung Ang Economic Zone into the sea. But it claimed all its discharged wastewater had been treated.
Hoi An said any claims that the same situation is happening around Cham Island are false. 
Local officials said some people have engaged in illegal fishing activities using explosives recently, but they have been stopped. 
Cham Island, known for beautiful coral reefs and fresh, quality seafood, received more than 13,400 tourists during the four-day Reunification Day holiday last weekend, according to official figures.
Da Nang, which lies between Hue and Hoi An, has also affirmed that its beaches and seafood are all safe.
The city is organizing a food festival at the Bien Dong Park from May 1-7, aiming to promote seafood and also helping local fishermen sell their catch. All the seafood served at the event is tested for safety by the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
But public concern and suspicion has not gone away as the government and its team of both local and foreign experts are reportedly still looking for the real cause of the environmental disaster, one of the worst in Vietnam in recent memory. 

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