Hanoi: Over hundreds of people gathered in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi on Sunday to protest a Taiwanese company causing pollution that has led to mass deaths of fish in the country’s central coast.
A steel unit of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group has come under fire in recent weeks for allegedly blighting fisheries on Vietnam’s central coast by releasing untreated wastewater into the sea, EFE news reported.
Thousands of dead fish have been washing up on Vietnamese beaches, causing public alarm and reportedly damaging the livelihoods of local fishermen.
Around 300 protestors joined the rally outside Hanoi Opera House.
Participants waved an array of banners bearing slogans such as ‘Formosa destroys the environment, which is a crime’, ‘We need sea, we need fish, we don’t need Formosa’, and ‘Vietnam People Save The Sea’, as they marched through the city.
Fisherman Nguyen Xuan Thanh told the local daily Tuoi Tre that he and others saw “muddy yellow” water being discharged from the pipe just days before dead fish were first reported on April 6.
He claimed the wastewater “smelled so bad that I felt suffocated”.
Chou Chun Fan, Formosa Ha Tinh’s external relations manager, caused further outrage when he said local communities needed to decide whether they wanted marine life or foreign investment.
The company has since apologised for his comments.
Teams of environmental experts have been dispatched to the area to investigate the fish deaths.
Vietnam’s central provinces are heavily dependent on the seafood industry, with the country earning some $6.6 billion from fishery exports last year.