HÀ TĨNH — Locals living near the Formosa plant in central Hà Tĩnh Province stated that the Taiwanese company is encroaching upon the sea to build a solid waste storage dock.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, however, said the construction is under an approved master plan.

Local online newswires last week carried stories quoting locals saying that the Hưng Nghiệp Formosa Steel Company, responsible for the Formosa toxic spill in the ocean last year, was constructing a waste storage dock that encroached upon 300ha of the local ocean.

The ministry’s online outlet said construction had been approved under the master plan of the plant and the dock’s actual area was 146ha.

“Formosa is fulfilling requested documents to shift the function of the waste storage dock to a zone for storing manufacture materials,” it said.

The ministry also noticed that the encroachment of the ocean for solid waste storage is “normal” for steel plants built near the ocean around the world.

On Sunday, the Hà Tĩnh People’s Committee delivered a press release saying encroachment by Formosa is legal and has been approved.

According to Dương Tất Thắng, the committee’s deputy chairman, local authorities and the ministry officials visited the construction site and pledged to closely monitor the situation before allowing the waste storage dock to be put into use.

Người Lao động (Labourers) newspaper quoted an official in the ministry’s General Department of Sea and Islands as saying that encroachment of the ocean should be prohibited at all cost and this helps to ensure coherence in licensing of coastal projects.

He emphasised that storage of solid waste on the sea is vulnerable and the encroachment would change the natural topography of the coastal zone. — VNS


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