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Formosa Plastics Hunger Strike: Day 8

From Nancy Bui, vice president of Justice for Formosa Victims: Today marks the 8th day of the hunger strike. Although I cannot be by her side to provide support, I make sure to call her several times a day. Today, she mentioned feeling slower and more forgetful due to not eating for the past 8 days. She has been surviving on water alone, but even that has been limited to avoid frequent visits to the restroom.

The family doctor visited her and measured her blood pressure, which was found to be high at 164/114. The doctor prescribed medication and rechecked her blood pressure before leaving, resulting in a slight improvement but still high at 159/98.

Dan Le, a member of the San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper organization, visited her and provided a tent in case of rain. Despite her weakened physical state and slight decline in memory, her thoughts remain with the Vietnamese fishermen who have endured immense injustice and suffering for so long. Let’s delve into her Diary of Day 8 to witness her unwavering dedication to the fishermen of Central Vietnam.

by Diane Wilson

Follow Diane’s day-by-day account of the latest Global Hunger Strike against Formosa Plastics. You can join her by signing up here.

Where did all the pollution go or where is it still going? Dr. Schroeder of the Helmholtz Center Hamburg (HCH) Germany said his institute was a consultant to the Vietnamese Government with regard to the 2016 disaster by Formosa Ha Tinh Steel. The Center conducted no research of their own but relied solely on the documentation provided by the Vietnamese government. He characterized the documentation as vague and felt the government and/or Formosa Steel was not very forthcoming with their data. This resulted in the institute not being able to reach any conclusions about the effects of the spill. He said toxins involved included cyanide and phenols but they were not provided any hard copy documentation.

The institute (HCH) was tasked by the Vietnamese government to help determine the cause of the fish kill and the impact on the estuaries. The poor documentation prevented them from reaching any valuable conclusion. As far as his institute was concerned, Dr Schroeder said the Center had nothing they could provide physically to those impacted by the spill.

So, folks, that’s how it is done in Vietnam when Formosa Plastics Group’s Ha Tinh Steel plant
has a disastrous spill affecting over a hundred thousand people and wipes out an entire

In the USA, including Texas, there is something called the Clean Water Act, and there is a
provision in the Act for a ‘citizen suit’ if the feds and the state government do NOTHING. So
fishermen and injured workers from Formosa Plastics here in Texas banded together and for 2 ½ years we waded in the water, marshes, shores, very tall grasses, and eventually hitting the 11 discharge outfalls of Formosa Plastics, TX. That took a little know how on a kayak, but we learned.

We collected over 2,500 samples and took over 8,000 photos of illegal plastic that came from Formosa Plastics discharges. We obtained the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aide as our lawyers and sued Formosa Plastics. We went to court in 2019 and won a historic settlement. $50M in penalties, zero discharge of plastic from the facility, clean up, monitoring, enforcement, and engineering to help Formosa with source control and stopping the loss of plastic powder and pellets in the units. It is estimated that Formosa has invested $ 1B.

To date and through monitoring and enforcement of zero discharge of plastic, Formosa Plastics has been fined $13.2M for 534 plastic violations. And the cleanup of plastic from Cox Creek where Formosa Plastics has 11 stormwater outfalls has cost them approximately $30M. Since 2016, and according to a deposition from the supervisor of a contracted cleanup crew, 68 billion pellets have been picked up in Cox Creek and over 3,000 truckloads of pellets, soil, and vegetation has been taken to the landfill. To get a perspective on the large number of pellets, it takes 31.5 years to count to a billion.

Latest samples contaminated with plastic pellets and powder

So, folks, it’s staring us straight in the face. There is a vast difference between what the citizens of Calhoun County, Texas, USA received compared to the abysmal nothing that the fishermen in Vietnam received for damages. Formosa Plastics, you can do better! Shame on you!

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