Sand being mined along the Sài Gòn River. — Photo Ngọc Diệp
HCM CITY — The Cần Giờ District and District 9 people’s committees will join forces with public security agencies, border guards and neighbouring provinces to fight illegal sand mining in HCM City.
The districts share borders with HCM City’s neighbouring provinces, making it difficult for them to tackle illegal sand mining by themselves.
The Cần Giờ coast is reported to be badly hit by sand mining.
A representative of its People’s Committee said the mining is usually done at night, which makes it hard for authorities to detect it or deter offenders.
There have been cases of groups of illegal sand miners assaulting inspectors when they were detected.
Law enforcement agencies blame the increasing incidence of mining to lax regulations and enforcement and lack of stringent penalties.
Sand mining is only treated as illegal when more than 50 cubic meters are exploited.
Thus, when a case is detected, violators throw sand back into the sea to escape punishment.
In the first six months of the year 12 cases were detected on the Cần Giờ coast, and total fines of VNĐ278 million (US$12,000) were collected.
Nguyễn Văn Thành, deputy chairman of the District 9 People’s Committee, said the district plans to collaborate with the city’s public security agencies, border guards and agencies in Đồng Nai Province’s Biên Hòa Town and Bình Dương Province’s Tân Uyên District to crack down on illegal sand mining.
Their co-operation would focus on exchange of information, supervision and prevention of violations, he said.
The district has asked market supervision teams to regularly inspect sand depots and other selling points around the city, he said.
Traders who fail to furnish certificates of origin for their sand would be reported to investigative agencies, he said.
In the first six months of the year public security agencies discovered 24 cases of illegal sand mining and seized 22 pumping machines, according to the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Two people were prosecuted for illegal exploration and exploitation of natural resources.
The city’s border guards detected another 35 cases and seized 53 machines. — VNS