Local residents in Hon Quan District’s Tan Hiep Commune in Binh Phuoc province reported a mass fish death stretching several kilometres upstream of Saigon River last weekend.
Mass fish death was reported upstream the Sai Gon river last weekend.
The phenomenon was first discovered on July 6. The dead fish were about the size of two fingers and weighed three kilograms.
The dead fish were found from Ba Quen Spring to Bau Lung Commune along 10 kilometres of the river. The fish drifted to Tan Hiep Commune, about three kilometres from Bau Lung, leaving a stink coming from the river.
Nguyen Thanh Giang, a local fisherman recalled that he and other fishermen saw dead fish. He then rowed his boat upstream and found the river faced an even worse situation.
“I have been working as a fisherman here for 20 years, but this is the first time I saw so many dead fish in the river. People rushed to get the dead fish,” Giang said.
Other local residents shared Giang’s opinion that they had not seen such a phenomenon for 20 years since the construction of the Dau Tieng Reservoir was completed and the fishing farming industry was founded in the locality.
Fishermen said that the stink from the river was not the smell of dead fish. It was the smell of industrial wastewater released from local cassava processing factories.
In Binh Phuoc’s Minh Tam Commune, there are some agricultural product processing factories and large-scale pig farms. Environment pollution in the area has been reported in the media several times.
It is rainy season now. Water upstream of the Saigon River is high and the flow is strong, which could spread the dead fish to other sections of the river.
Farmers demand compensation
In another development, one of 14 enterprises in Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, which released industrial waste in Cha Va River causing mass death for fish raised in cages of local farmers, agreed to compensate those damaged.
The information was heard during a Friday meeting of the provincial People’s Court as 33 farmer households are trying to file lawsuit against 14 local enterprises for discharging untreated industrial waste in Cha Va River.
During the second meeting, enterprises negotiated with the households about the compensation level. My Suong and Nghe Huynh Companies were the first two enterprises to negotiate with the farmers. My Suong Company agreed to compensate the farmers VNĐ21 million (US$954).
At the first meeting on June 22, the enterprises refused to take responsibility for the farmers’ loss, saying that the fish did not die of waste discharge, but other causes.
The arbitration was not successful. The farmers requested the companies compensate 76 percent of their total loss, equivalent to VNĐ13.8 billion (US$627,200). The compensation had initially been requested at VNĐ18.1 billion (US$822,700).
In September last year, hundreds of tonnes of caged fish on Cha Va River died, causing loss of billions of đồng. Local government and authourities determined that the incident was caused by waste discharged from Tan Thanh District’s enterprises.
The Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province’s People’s Committee requested the enterprises to make compensation to affected farmers, but the request was ignored. In May this year, local farmers began filing lawsuit against the 14 enterprises.