At least 100 tons of dead fish have been washed ashore in an ongoing environmental disaster along the central coast of Vietnam since early April, according to a government official.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Vu Van Tam told the press on Thursday that the data was compiled from reports of four provinces with mass fish deaths. It did not take into account dead fish that stayed in the water.
He said the ministry had conducted tests on the samples of dead fish and found heavy metals in some samples. He did not elaborate.
“As requested by the prime minister, we must submit the test results to the environment and science ministries for further analysis.
“It will take time until the results are made public, as it has to be accurate and clear.”
Fish died en masse and were washed ashore last month in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces, apparently killed by industrial effluents.
Suspicion has centered on Formosa, which admitted it has a large sewage pipe going straight into the sea. But it claimed all its discharged wastewater had been treated.
Officials have said they could not find any connection between Formosa's discharge and the disaster yet.
Vietnamese across the country have been anxiously waiting for a satisfying answer for the protracted case, which has tested the ability of the country to detect and handle large-scale disasters.