HCM CITY — Inspectors in the southern province of Dong Nai have fined 70 companies a total of VND700 million (US$35,000) for illegal mineral and sand exploitation that has contributed to pollution in the area.
The Natural Resources and Environmental Department said enforcement of illegal sand exploiters was especially difficult as the latter often sink their boats to avoid getting caught or argue and fight with authorities.
Every night, they use large machines for sand exploitation, causing serious landslides along many sections of the Dong Nai and La Nga rivers.
Stone exploitation, another problem in the area, had led to too much noise and dust.
"Most companies in the field have violated the allowed depth and distance, and haven't repaired any environmental damage, or stopped their production on time," Le Viet Hung, director of the department, was quoted as saying by Tin Tuc (News) newspaper.
Stone-exploitation companies did not plant trees, build fences or change their stone tunnels into water reservoirs, even though they were asked.
In addition, dust is 1.2 – 1.6 higher than the standard, and the percentage of local residents who have respiratory disease has increased.
The chairman of the province's People's Committee has asked the directors of the departments for Police, Natural Resources and Environment, Industry and Trade, Construction, as well as other authorities, to increase their inspections of illegal mineral exploitation. — VNS