|Illegal sand miners move along the Red River on the border between Ha Noi and Hung Yen Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Thong Nhat
HUNG YEN (VNS)— Illegal sand miners in northern Hung Yen Province have been on the run for a month since local authorities launched a major crackdown on their activities.
Specifically, it is claimed that dozens of river dredges have ceased operations in Phu Thinh Commune in Kim Dong District and in Tan Hung Commune in Hung Yen City.
Similar clampdowns have been reported in Kim Dong, Khoai Chau, and Tien Lu districts, according to Le Quang Vinh, head of the Natural Resources and Minerals sub-department under the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Police are using a variety of measures to stop mining along the Hong and Luoc rivers, Vinh added. They are co-operating with authorities to inspect the theft of sand from many sites.
The province has also run social media campaigns to raise people's awareness about the need to protect the environment. They have also ordered local authorities to honour their responsibilities.
Hung Yen officials have also called on authorities in neighbouring provinces, such as Ha Noi, Ha Nam and Thai Binh, to join in the clampdown.
Kim Dong District police last month arrested the operators of three dredges for scooping sand illegally from the Hong River in Mai Dong Commune's Hanh Lam Hamlet.
Meanwhile, Khoai Chau District police have prosecuted six illegal miners. They were fined a total of VND135 million (more than US$6,000).
According to Khoai Chau and Tien Lu residents, illegal miners began moving in a big way at the start of 2011.They were alleged to be stealing from a thousand to millions of cubic metres of sand a day.
This not only weakened the banks, threatening houses, but also affected the quality of water being supplied to towns and paddy fields.
In Kim Dong District and Hung Yen City, illegal exploitation of alluvial soil also led to the collapse of a large area of land into the Hong River and threatening dykes. — VNS