BINH DUONG — The southern province of Binh Duong has recently discovered several cases of illegal dredging.
|Illegal sand exploitation in Binh Duong Province's Dau Tieng Lake. The local authorities have urged relevant agencies to tighten mangement of dredging. — VNS Photo Thanh Dong
On August 30, the province's police division in charge of preventing and fighting environmental crimes, acting in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, found that the Tot I Company was illegally dredging sand in the Tan My Industrial Cluster in Tan Uyen District's Tan My Commune.
The company, main investor in the industrial cluster, has illegally dredged a total of 1,536 cu.m of clay and laterite soil from a hill in the area, inspectors said. Clay is used to make bricks and laterite soil is used for building roads.
The company had earlier been fined for illegal dredging. Under the guise of clearing land to build the industrial park, it had illegally levelled several hills.
Provincial inspectors said they have found several other instances of illegal mining.
The Phu Nam Minh Company in Ben Cat District's Hoa Loi Commune, for instance, had mined more than 10,000 cu.m of laterite soil after its dredging licence expired.
Similarly, the Bach Nhan Company in Dau Tieng District's Dinh An Commune did not have a dredging licence but illegally mined more than 49,000 cb.m of laterite soil and 1,000 cb.m of clay and evaded taxes worth more than VND100 million (US$4,700).
Nguyen Van Kim, deputy director of the province's Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said illegal sand dredging in the Sai Gon and Dong Nai rivers and many other areas in the province had become a issue of serious concern.
Sand dredging boats often operate at night and when inspectors inspect them, dredgers sink illegal boats and flee so it is difficult for the inspectors to catch and fine them, he said.
Nguyen Tan Binh, deputy chairman of the Phu Giao District People's Committee, said rock, kaolin and clay mining were rampant in the locality, but information about pending inspections quickly got around and such activities would be suspended temporarily.
The provincial People's Committee has ordered competent agencies to revoke the licences of companies which violate regulations, especially those causing serious environment pollution, having unsafe working conditions and disturbing social security.
The committee has also instructed competent agencies to tighten management of granting dredging licences and not renew licences for firms that are repeat offenders.
At the beginning of this year, Binh Duong has 25 mining companies that mine construction materials like sand and rock, according to the province's Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
These companies have been allowed to mine on a total area of more than 500ha with a total mining capacity of 14 million cu.m a year.
The province's dredging companies paid a total of VND53 billion in taxes in the fist seven months of this year, according to the tax department. — VNS