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Central provinces struggle to stop illegal sand mining

Update: August, 25/2015 - 15:39
A place where people gather with boats to load sand mined illegally from the River Huong in Thua Thien – Hue Province. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu

THUA THIEN – HUE (VNS) — Illegal mining of sand from riverbeds continues in the central provinces of Thua Thien – Hue and Quang Binh, despite the local authorities' ban on such activities.

In Thua Thien – Hue, people come in almost 35 boats to a section of the Huong River in Huong Thuy District early in the morning every day and use large suction pipes to remove sand from the riverbed.

The strong pressure exerted by these suction pipes causes soil erosion of the riverbank and pollutes the river water, which is the main source of fresh water for the province's municipal Hue City.

In other sections of the river too, people come in boats to mine sand. The illegal activity is also conducted in the two large rivers of Bo and O Lau in the province.

A report by Quang Binh's department of natural resources and environment said there were many muster points where boats gather to load sand taken from the bed of the Kien Giang River. The boats also use suction pipes, which leads to soil erosion of the riverbank in the province's Le Thuy District.

The Thua Thien – Hue People's Committee late last week again ordered related agencies and authorities in the districts that witness mining of sand to stop the illegal activity and to clear the areas where the illegal miners bring boats to load the sand.

The committee's Deputy Chairman Phan Ngoc Tho said the head of wards and communes in areas where such activities continue would be considered irresponsible.

Earlier, the committee issued a ban, prohibiting sand mining in the province, saying the activities would be allowed under a community-based sustainable model that was expected to become valid in September.

The province has more than 100 households involved in sand mining and the model was necessary to ensure their livelihood, the committee said.

In Quang Binh, the provincial People's Committee issued the same guideline, without mentioning any attempt to allow legal mining of sand.

Experts say sand is the main material for construction work, which is in high demand during summer. A total ban on sand mining will not be possible as there has been no investment in an alternative material. – VNS


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