Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc Friday has promised the government will make public "transparently and thoroughly" how it uses the US$500 million compensation to be paid by the Taiwanese company whose toxic effluents polluted the sea and killed fish en masse.
Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp. (FHS) Thursday promised to pay the compensation after admitting it had caused the pollution along the central coast in April.
“We fought with sufficient and convincing evidence ... to arrive at this result. Thus the support fund allocated for offshore fishing and environmental protection will be announced transparently,” Phuc said at a government meeting in Hanoi.
An estimated 70 tons of dead fish washed ashore along more than 200 kilometers of coast in the four provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien Hue.
Scientists found corals bleached to death at a research site near Mui Ron Ma, Ha Tinh Province.
Mai Tien Dung, chairman of the Government Office, said during a test run in early April the FHS steel mill in Ha Tinh released into the sea wastewater containing toxins such as cyanide and phenol.
The disaster has decimated tourism and fishing and damaged the marine environment in these provinces. Scientists found corals bleached to death in the area, a loss which they said would take 50 years to recover.
It took Vietnamese scientists and authorities more than 80 days to find FHS guilty. Chen Yuan-Cheng, FHS Chairman, Thursday said in a video that his company "takes full responsibility and sincerely apologizes to the Vietnamese people... for causing the environmental disaster."
Phuc said the plan to use the $500 million should be completed by the end of this month.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C).
He tasked the agricultural ministry with crafting support policies for fishermen, especially in affected areas in the four provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue.
The environment ministry would also establish a fund to restore the health of the environment there, Phuc said.
He said support should be given to offshore fishing for long-term and sustainable effectiveness, instructing concerned ministries to give direct support to fishermen suffering from losses due to the fish deaths.
He also counseled government officials not to trade the environment for economic growth or foreign investment.