Vedan responsible for 77 pct of Thi Vai River pollution

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Taiwanese-owned MSG maker Vedan Vietnam will accept responsibility for 77 percent of the pollution suffered by the Thi Vai River flowing through the southern province of Dong Nai, the Vietnam Environment Administration said on Tuesday.

The losses inflicted by this percentage of pollution on southern farmers has been estimated at nearly VND1.4 trillion (US$75 million).

The rate is the average of 89 percent - estimated by Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam National University's Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, authorized to do so by the environment ministry, and the 65 percent calculated by Vedan, the VEA said.

Last December the company rejected the institute's conclusion that it was responsible for 89 percent of the pollution suffered by the Thi Vai River.

Vedan had released toxic and untreated wastewater directly into the Thi Vai River for 14 years, but it argued other companies and polluters were also responsible for the damage caused.

Since its violation was found in September 2008, Vedan has paid up VND267.5 million in fines and closed down four of its factories.

However, the compensation due to farmers who'd suffered severe losses because of the company's environmental violation that destroyed crops and farmland while poisoning fish and shrimp in nine communes at HCMC, Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, and Dong Nai Province. was yet to be decided.

Bui Cach Tuyen, head of Vietnam Environment Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said they would try to make a deal on the compensation in a meeting this Friday, noting that it would do no good to both Vedan and farmers if the case was brought to court.

According to HCMC Farmers Association, 839 families engaged in aquaculture have suffered VND107 billion in losses.

The Ba Ria Vung Tau Farmers Association reported over VND191 billion in losses suffered by 1,134 families.

Dong Nai farmers, meanwhile, wanted VND1.06 trillion in compensation for 5,046 families.

Last August, Vedan refused to pay VND659 billion in compensation requested by the three farmers' associations, saying it was too high and that it needed more evidence that the pollution had caused that much damage.

On the other hand, Yeh Sheau Yeh, Vedan's General Director Office manager, denied that the company had finalized the pollution rate, saying they and related agencies wouldn't reach any conclusions until a meeting that was expected to take place within the next few days, local The Saigon Times Daily reported on Wednesday.

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