Vietnam polluter must compensate farmers: environmental agency

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The official environmental agency for Dong Nai Province has recommended that a company be ordered to compensate victims for damages incurred by its discharge of untreated toxic waste into a local canal.

A council needs to be established to direct the Sonadezi Long Thanh Joint-stock Company to counterbalance the losses of locally affected farmers, the Dong Nai Department of Natural Resources and Environment said in a proposal to provincial authorities at a meeting on Friday.

The department ordered the Institute for Environment and Resources at the National University of Ho Chi Minh City to report all related figures by month's end in order to calculate the restitution owed.

A subsidiary of the state-owned Sonadezi Corporation, Sonadezi Long Thanh manages a waste treatment plant in the Long Thanh Industrial Zone, which had waste treatment contracts with 42 companies as of August last year when the pollution was discovered.

According to the department, the institute's research has concluded that as of the time of the discovery, the plant had polluted over 16 percent of the Rach Cheo canal's 682.8-hectare area. The canal flows into the Dong Nai River.


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Between 2008 and 2011, the plant's pollution killed 100 percent of the local aquaculture, the institute concluded, adding that local poultry was also affected.

So far 271 farming households have filed petitions demanding the company pay a total of nearly 19 billion (US$913,000) in damages.

A Friday report in Saigon Tiep Thi said Sonadezi Long Thanh has pledged to pay local farmers after related agencies finalize the details.

Last October the company was fined VND405 million (US$19,400) for the pollution it caused.

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