Vietnam needs long-term plan to restore the marine ecosystem
  • By The Kha | dtinews.vn | July 01, 2016 08:25 PM
 >>  Formosa admits responsibility for mass fish deaths

Dr. Mai Trong Nhuan from Vietnam National University in Hanoi, who has expertise in geochemistry, geology, and climatology talked with Dan Tri about measures to restore the ecosystem and environment in four central provinces that were polluted by the Formosa mass fish deaths.


Mai Trong Nhuan

What do you think about the efforts made by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and other agencies to find the cause of the problem?

This is the first time Vietnam has faced such a serious environmental disaster. It spread to four provinces that have complicated oceanographic and meteorological terrain.

Agencies were ordered to work closely with each other and experts from Vietnam and overseas were invited to the investigation. The ministry followed all procedures and we finally reached a result. It shows the government's determination and commitment to the people and international community.

What do we have to do now to resolve the environmental impacts?

First we have to help the people and firms resume their normal activities and continue to monitor production and waste treatment process.

Secondly, we have to determine the polluted area and the levels of contamination before making a public announcement. An environmental and economic impact assessment must be done. Compensation is also on the agenda too.

Lastly, we must have preventive measures to protect the ocean such as setting up monitoring stations at key locations. As part of a long-term plan, we need a national committee and strategy to deal with environmental disasters.

Do we have technology to completely deal with the pollution in four central provinces and how long will it take to clean the sea?

From what have been published on the media about the water, the statistics about the sea has somewhat returned to permitted levels. However, the pollutants have sunk into the seabed so now we have to deal with polluted sediment. This will be a long-term solution that needs resources and funding.

More importantly is how to restore our damaged ecosystem. Luckily Vietnam gained some experience from projects to restore the coral reef at Phu Quoc and Cham islands. It is estimated to take five to ten years to restore healthy coral reef and about 50 years for the whole ecosystem to recover.

Do you think that we need foreign experts to check the quality of equipment and technology at Formosa's plant?

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has co-operated with agencies and scientists to carry out the inspection.

The government must have tight control on what is being discharged directly into the sea to prevent other disasters. State agencies should also work harder and strictly punish violators.

Should we establish a new committee or team to supervise Formosa when they deal with the aftermath of the pollution?

Yes. We also should investigate the responsibility of state agencies in this case. Like I said, we need to establish a national plan to respond to environmental problems with view to 2030 and a national committee for emergencies.

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