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Hanoi, Vietnam, was the scene of a protest on May 1, 2016. According to Reuters, protesting is a rarity in Vietnam. However, people gathered to voice complaints against a steel plant that is operated by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics. They also expressed dismay over the Vietnamese government’s investigation of the mysterious deaths of “thousands of tons” of fish along 200 km of the central coastline.
There were hundreds of demonstrators gathered with signs that called out for justice for fish and signage with drawings of fish and text written in the natives’ language. According to Daily Mail, one of the banners read, “Who poisoned the central region’s waters?”
While the government agency that inspected the complaints of the dead fish determined there was no known cause for the mysterious deaths, they blamed red tides. The public refused to accept this explanation and demanded the government do more to rectify the situation.
Further anger arose when a spokesperson for Formosa Plastics said the Vietnamese needed to choose between a contemporary steel industry and catching shrimp and fish. One protestor was outraged. He told reporters that the Formosa Steel Mill had no right to tell the people of Vietnam to choose between the mill and their livelihood of fishing.
On April 26, Radio Free Asia reported that Formosa claimed all of the wastewater that comes from the steel mill is processed according to regulations before being released from the facility. The company told the Vietnamese authorities they hope the government will figure out the reason for the fish dying.
By Cathy Milne
Reuters: Rare rallies in Vietnam over mysterious mass fish deaths
Daily Mail: Rare rallies in Vietnam over mysterious mass fish deaths
Radio Free Asia: Formosa Steel Goes on The Offensive Over Fish Kill in Vietnam
Image Courtesy of Lain’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License