Postcards from a poisoned coast: Vietnam’s people-smuggling heartland

Opportunities for local employment have been hampered by environmental disaster.

Sandwiched between thin sandy beaches and herds of buffalo wallowing in rice paddies, the smoking chimneys of the Formosa Steel plant dominate this small corner of Ha Tinh province.

The steel mill, owned by Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics, was blamed by Hanoi in 2016 for causing one of Vietnam’s worst environmental disasters when a chemical leak poisoned coastal waters, unleashing widespread protests and damaging livelihoods.