Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Ministries must intensify their actions to prevent all kinds of illegal river-bed mining and strictly punish those found to be illegally exploiting sand across the country, said Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng.
Deputy PM Dũng has made a request to the Ministry of Public Security to strengthen their co-operation with local authorities in directing and supporting local police and people to take out effective measures against all acts violating river protection regulations.
The Ministry of Transport (MoT) should mobilise all efforts in implementing the Prime Minister’s Directive No 03/CT-TTg dated 30/03/2015 on enforcement of policies and legislation on sand mining, according to the Deputy PM on Friday.
The MoT was also assigned to co-ordinate with and steer local authorities in evaluating the implementation of PM’s Decision No 73/2013/QĐ-TTg on a pilot river-dredging and transport management programme.
It should report to the Prime Minister before the end of December this year, said the deputy PM.
Dũng assigned the ministries of Construction, Industry and Trade, and Natural Resources and Environment to work with, guide and urge city and provincial People’s Committees nation-wide in evaluating and reviewing all mineral mining plans for the 2016-2020 period that needed to be submitted to the Government for adjustment or changes.
Illegal mineral exploitation, especially of sand and gravel from river beds, has caused the erosion of most rivers across Việt Nam and has damaged farms and gardens along riverbanks for about a decade. These activities have not been properly controlled by the Government and local authorities, a report from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment recently revealed.
The situation had turned into an extremely complicated trend causing loss of resources, environmental pollution and adversely impacting socio-economic development and public security, the report said.
Environmental experts blamed the situation on the large number of miners who lacked knowledge of environmental protection laws. Many who saw the large profits that could be earned from illegal sand mining were willing to ignore legal regulations.
Police said violators used various underhanded techniques to hide from the law, such as working at night, employing poor labourers and even creating fake exploiting licenses.
Many exploiters planned their sand mining operations in rivers on a large scale. They built wooden ships with a capacity of up to a 100 tons and installed powerful pumps to suck sand from the bottom of rivers.
According to a recent police report, within a couple of hours at night, a ship can be filled to capacity and moves to a private port along the riverbank to sell its cargo. In some cases, ships can even approache riverbanks and directly sucked up sand with high powered pumps. If detected by authorities, offenders often will deliberately sink their ship to destroy the evidence. -- VNS