TRÀ VINH — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh is tightening management of sand mining to protect the environment.
Trà Vinh is one of the delta’s coastal provinces most severely affected by the impact of erosion, high tides and saltwater intrusion in the past five years, according to the Southern Institute of Water Resources Research.
The main cause of erosion is excessive mining of sand, it said.
The provincial People’s Committee has granted 22 licenses to 16 firms to mine more than 8 million cu.m a year since 2006, according to its Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Besides legal sand mining, the province is a hotspot of illegal sand mining, causing adverse impacts to the environment, it said.
The province seized nearly 100 facilities that illegal sand miners used for mining river sand last year, according to its Police Department.
Each facility has a capacity of containing 25-50 tonnes of sand, it said.
Lê Quang Răng, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said many sections of rivers and coasts were eroded last year.
In Cầu Kè District alone, a 1.5km river section was eroded last year, affecting 53 households and a 70ha farming area.
Other districts, such as Tiểu Cần, Càng Long and Trà Cú, also faced several erosion cases last year.
The provincial People’s Committee had to declare emergency to protect the poverty and safety of local people last year, Răng said.
The province spent hundreds of billions of đồng a year to solve erosion along rivers and coasts, he said.
Lê Văn Hẳn, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said the People’s Committee has decided to close a sand mine on the Cổ Chiên River in Trà Vinh City’s Long Đức Commune.
The province has closed a total of 31 sand mines as of early this month, he said.
It currently has only two sand mining licenses in operation, he said.
The People’s Committee has instructed the Police Department to mobilise forces at all levels to monitor and inspect sand mining activities.
The Police Department has set up three inspecting sites to monitor illegal sand mining on the Cổ Chiên and Hậu rivers, two large rivers.
Commune-level People’s Committees have strengthened advocacy activities to enhance the awareness of the public in discovering and informing illegal sand mining cases to local authorities. — VNS