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Vedan Fights Pollution Allegation


VIET NAM - Taiwanese seasoning producer, Vedan, claims that evidences from the Institute for Environment and Natural Resources is groundless and they are ready to meet farmers in court.

Vedan Vietnam, based in Dong Nai province sent a document on 26 June to Dong Nai People's Committee to reject farmers' claim to nearly 120 billion dong (VND) in compensation, reports VietNamNet.

Vedan Vietnam's representative, lawyer Hoang Nhu Vinh, dismissed that Dong Nai's claim of compensation as based on Institute for Environment and Natural Resources data that lacks scientific grounds and has not been verified. He stated the information should only be used for reference.

Previously, the institute determined that the total aquatic breeding area of 10,450 hectares in Long Thanh and Nhon Trach districts were affected by Vedan's waste water and Vedan must compensate VND104.34 billion for the losses. In addition, Vedan must compensation 15.23 billion dong for losses suffered by seafood catchers.

Vedan's lawyer posited that actual verification shows that the losses suffered are much lower than reported by the institute. Vedan also added that the data on losses to farmers in Ba Ria–Vung Tau and HCM City provided by the institute is groundless.

The Thi Vai River begins in Long Thanh province, runs through Ba Ria-Vung Tau province and a HCM City district, before pouring into the East Sea. Its total length is some 76 kilometres and its total basin area is some 300 square kilometres.

According to VietNamNet, on 8 September 2008, the Environmental Police Agency and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s (MoNRE) inspectors caught Vedan discharging untreated waste water into the Thi Vai River. The company polluted the river for 14 years with up to 105.6 million litres of untreated wastewater per month. The toxic water killed farmers' fish and shrimp and ruined farmland along the river banks.

MoNRE suspended the plant's wastewater discharge licence and fined the company VND267.5 million (US$15,030). The ministry also demanded another VND127 billion (US$7.14 million) from the company in overdue environmental fees. The company paid the fine and the fees in three installments.

Vedan has not yet compensated affected farmers.

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