Hanoi, Vietnam-A steel mill owned by the Formosa Plastics Group (FPG), one of Taiwan's largest conglomerates, has been put on a special environmental watch list by Vietnamese authorities, according to a media report Tuesday.
The report on the Vietnamese news site VnExpress said the inclusion of Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp. on the watch list was due to a toxic waste spill at the steel plant in 2016.
In an interview with VnExpress, Hoang Van Thuc, deputy director general of the Vietnam Environment Administration, said the FPG steel plant was among 28 big companies listed as potential sources of pollution.
The environmental watch list, compiled by Vietnamese authorities for the first time, is subject to change based on the performance of the companies listed, he said.
Generally, a company will be monitored for two to three years after being placed on the watch list and may be removed if it improves its waste processing capability and meets environmental protection standards, Hoang said.
In addition to the 28 big enterprises on the special watch list, Hoang said, his agency will be keeping an eye on about 300 smaller companies and has asked them to report regularly on their environmental protection efforts.
In April 2016, a toxic waste spill at the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Plant resulted in the pollution of some 200 kilometers of Vietnam's coastline, devastating areas that are heavily dependent on fishing and tourism.
After the spill, the plant was closed until May this year and the group paid more than US$500 million in compensation.
The FPG steel complex was also one of the targets of anti-Chinese protests staged by Vietnamese workers in May 2014 over China's deployment of a US$1 billion oil rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea.
In addition to the FPG, China Steel Corp., the largest steel maker in Taiwan, and Japan's JFE Steel Corp. also hold stakes in the Ha Tinh mill, with investments of more than US$10 billion.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel