HCM CITY (VNS)— Illegal sand mining has caused severe erosion along the two main tributaries of the Serepok River in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands), affecting the lives of many people.
Ho Van Khoi, who lives near the Krong Ana River in Dak Lak Province's Krong Bong District, said most of his family's three hectares of farmland has been eroded by the river in the last three years.
In Khoi's Cu Kty commune the river has swallowed up around 80ha of farmland since 2005, according to local authorities.
Several sections of banks in the province's Cu Kuin District have also been badly eroded.
Nguyen Xuan Quang of the Hoa Hiep commune Land Survey – Construction Division, said companies are only allowed to mine sand from the river bed and not the banks, but many illegally mine banks.
Nguyen Van Thiem, head of the Dak Lak Province Natural Resource Management Department, said it is difficult to eradicate illegal sand mining in the Krong Ana River.
When department inspectors visit, all illegal sand mining boats halt their activities because they get information about the inspection before they arrive, he said.
They resume when the inspectors go away, he said.
If boats are caught red-handed while mining illegally, they flee to the middle of the river, where only the waterway police have authority, he said.
The other river that has become wider and deeper because of illegal sand mining is the Krong No in Dak Nong Province.
The section running through Krong No District's Buon Choa commune used to be just 20 metres wide a decade ago, but has now widened to 100 metres.
Chu Van Khoa, chairman of the commune People's Committee, said hundreds of farming families live along the Krong No.
"In the past 10 years the erosion of the river banks has caused hundreds of hectares of land to fall into the river," he said.
More than 30 sand-mining boats operate in this section of the river, taking a total of 1,800cu.m of sand every day, he added. —VNS