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Locals monitor illegal sand mining

Update: August, 25/2017 - 10:11
The fallen river bank caused by illegal sand mining. — Photo
Viet Nam News

THỪA THIÊN-HUẾ — Residents of central ThừaThiên-Huế Province have set up tents to monitor illegal sand mining since local authorities have failed to stop miners from illegal dredging.

A month ago, villagers in Hạ Village in the province’s Dương Hòa Commune, formed a farmer taskforce team to keep watch of the river section of Tả Trạch, an upper stream contributing to the Hương (Perfume) River, which borders the village.

Lê Văn Trước, head of the villagers, said the team includes 10 members for alternate shifts, ensuring the whole day is monitored.

Trước said villagers had mobilised cash to buy the team an engine boat to drive the sand miners away from the local river section. The team also built a bamboo tent as a shelter for members during their shift.

“We help discover illegal sand mining activities and sound the alarm for all villagers. In case the miners ignore us, we will sail to the site to drive them away,” Trước said.

The monitoring tent set up by Hạ villagers to monitor illegal sand miners. — Photo

Lê Văn Tân, a team member, said villagers were determined to perform the task despite the danger from possibly violent miners because they had witnessed a major landslide in the locality, caused by the illegal sand mining.

In difficult situations, team members would inform the local police for help to catch the miners and impose penalties.

Earlier, sand miners came to the river section to conduct sand mining with engine-powered suction pipes throughout the day, causing landslides of 5km along the riverbank and some 15m inland.

Lê Văn Thức, the commune’s deputy chairman, admitted illegal sand mining occurred in the locality, saying it had been taking place for three years now, but local authorities had failed to catch the violators.

With the villagers’ watch team, sand mining has reduced. Last week, the team caught two boats that were dredging at the river section and transferred them to the commune authorities for punishment.

Thức said the commune would assist in the formation of a similar team at Buồng Village, which is adjacent to Hạ Village and experiences landslides due to illegal sand mining. — VNS

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