LookAtVietnam – Until recently, life
was not too difficult for residents of Suoi Cam Hamlet.
Half of its
residents lived off the sea, and they only had to venture a few hundred metres
off the coast to earn between VND200,000 and VND500,000 dong (US$9.7-24) for a
The Thuy Trieu
Lagoon offered fish, shrimp and other aquatic creatures in abundance, recalled
Nguyen Kha Trong, head of the hamlet.
idyllic life changed in 2000, and residents are unanimous in blaming the Cam
Ranh Sugar Plant for polluting lagoon, the Sai Gon Giai Phong reports.
Thuy Trieu, a
coastal lagoon in Cam Ranh Bay, belongs to Cam Lam District and Cam Ranh City in central coastal Khanh Hoa Province.
Trong told the
newspaper, “It was easy for them (residents of the hamlet) to earn their
living before 2000. Now people have to make work a lot more to make their
living because of the decline of shrimp and fish in the lagoon.
lagoon environment has become more and more muddy, it stinks badly, and the
ecosystem has been deformed, causing a decline in aquatic products.”
snails and even the “long-living” peanut worm (sipuncula), have died
in large numbers, he said.
Last April, the
fish breeders in the area claimed they were badly affected by large-scale
deaths of their shrimp and fish.
It was almost
harvest time Le Van Dong (Cam Thanh Bac Commune, Cam Lam District) pumped
seawater into his breeding pond, and in just two days, three tonnes of ca bong
mu (white bass) died. He lost a billion dong.
Dong said his
fish died because the seawater has been polluted by wastewater discharged by
the Cam Ranh Sugar Plant.
northeast monsoon was strong this year, blowing the wastewater nearer to the
bank,” he said.
3,000sq.m of rong sun (gracilaria – a type of seaweed) belonging to Vo Ngoc
Hanh, died completely, costing him VND35 million,
the mass deaths of fish and other marine life at Thuy Trieu lagoon began when
Cam Ranh Sugar Plant started operations.
which has a processing capacity of 6,000 tonnes of sugarcane a day, discharges
untreated or insufficiently treated wastewater in the sea, they said.
Nguyen Huu Hao,
deputy chairman of Cam Lam District, said 73 families in the district with 31ha
of breeding area in the lagoon have so far lost around VND4 billion ($194)
because of the pollution caused by the plant.
According to an
investigation by the province’s Department of Natural Resources and
Environment, pollutants in the plant’s smoke and wastewater exceeded the
acceptable levels by 5-10 times.
The Khanh Hoa
People’s Committee has fined the plant twice, with the fines totaling VND165
instructed concerned agencies to determine the effect of the plant’s discharge
of wastewater, so that farmers engaged in aquaculture can claim damages.
departments are yet to report on their work or draw conclusions about the
damage, prolonging the pollution as well as the suffering of residents.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News