ucanews.com reporter, Ho Chi Minh City
Updated: July 06, 2016 08:32 AM GMT
Fishermen in Thua Thien Hue province with their idle fishing boats after fish were killed by toxic waste in Ha Tinh province. (Photo of Paul Tran)
Religious, political and civil society organizations in Vietnam have criticized the government for allowing Formosa Ha Tinh Steel to continue operating, and called for people to demand justice.
"We condemn the communist government for allowing Formosa to continue its operation [which] damages the marine environment," representatives from 23 Vietnamese organizations said in a joint statement issued on July 4. There number included 11 religious leaders from Buddhist, Christian and indigenous religious communities.Toxic waste, including phenol and cyanide, from the Taiwanese-built steel plant in Ha Tinh province, a unit of Formosa Plastics, poisoned water along a 200km stretch of coastline killing hundreds of tonnes of fish. The activists said the government has not done enough to restore the environment or help the affected people.
The statement also slammed corrupt officials for lacking morality and good sense and called for all Vietnamese people to take to the streets and demand justice.
They suggested an "action month from July 6 to Aug. 6. "They encouraged activists to wear white shirts with dead fish photos, agitate for the closure of Formosa, and give material and legal support to victims so that they sue the plant."
Some fishermen in Thua Thien Hue province told ucanews.com that they do not want compensation from Formosa. "What we want is for them to return to us a safe marine environment so that we can continue to live in the traditional way," one of them said.
"We want a clean sea for younger generations," said a fisherman in Ha Tinh province. "If Formosa still operates here, they will discharge toxic waste … so they should be removed from Vietnam."
….As we enter the first months of 2022, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.