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Sand exploitation ravages river banks in Vietnam’s Central Highlands

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 10:49 GMT+7
Sand exploitation ravages river banks in Vietnam’s Central Highlands
A ship mines sand on the Da Nhim River in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

The over-exploitation of sand from the bottom of the Da Nhim River in Vietnam’s Central Highlands has led to severe erosion for years but local authorities have not discovered any rule violation following many checks.

The heavily affected areas are located along the banks of the river in Don Duong District of Lam Dong Province.

Dozens of stations to pump sand from the river bed roar noisily day and night along a six-kilometer section flowing from Quang Lap Commune via Thanh My Town to Ka Do Commune.

Tens of cranes are operated permanently to scoop sand up onto trucks.

Besides the pumping stations, many other ships have also joined in mining sand from the river bed.

Long strips of land along the river flowing through the area have suffered severe erosion for a long time, damaging many roads nearby.

Luu Dinh Chau, vice head of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Don Duong, said the section of the Da Nhim River under the management of his district has seven sand-pumping units altogether.

However, they are licensed to pump only a modest volume of sand annually, Chau said.

“For example, the Van Duc Company was granted a license to pump 8,000 cubic meters a year but the number of sand-carrying trucks indicates that the firm exploits at least 10,000 cubic meters a month,” he added.

On being checked, the sand pumping units often argue that they work to cover their days off before.

“In the coming time, we will make more regular checks,” Chau said.

“We have also suggested that local authorities grant short-term licenses for sand exploitation to facilitate the checks.”

Local authorities have said that they had checked the sites regularly but discovered no wrongdoing committed by the units.

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