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January 17, 2022, 10:49 pm

Sand exploitation threatens coastal areas

(00:32:20 AM 19/07/2014)
( - Uncontrolled sand exploitation in many districts of Thua Thien-Hue province has caused landslides, harmed the environment, and damaged the landscape.


However, the local authorities still turn a deaf ear to the problem.


Sand exploiters


The blazing sun cannot prevent people flocking to the Vinh Thanh seaside in Phu Vang District. They scoop up sand with shovels or anything they can find, put it into buffalo carts and then carry the sand away for sale.


Nguyen Van Chan said he has been doing this job for one year, when the sand price began increasing because of high demand for building materials.


“I can shovel enough to fill 15-20 buffalo carts, each of which can be sold for VND60,000,” he said, adding that the income from the job is much higher than farming.


When asked who Chuan sold the sand to, he said the exploited sand would be carried to a place in the protective forest and then loaded into big trucks to be carried away to the localities where there was the demand for building materials.


He said that one year ago, he mostly exploited sand after big waves brought more sand to the coastal area. However, as the sand demand has been increasing rapidly, he now exploits sand every day.


As sand turns scarcer, it is getting more and more difficult to shovel sand. Chuan and other exploiters have to dig deep pits and scoop up sand from the pits.


In Vinh Thanh Commune alone, about 50-60 households have been living on sand exploitation.


There were four or five sand pits seen in Hamlet No 5, each of which was four to five meters in depth. The pits lowered the sand strip, which may have caused the landslides.


Scientists have warned that massive sand exploitation would bring danger to localities. As sand has been taken away, the protective forest has lost the “fulcrum” that helps it stand firm to protect villages from typhoons.


What do local authorities say?


Nguyen Truong Chinh, Deputy Chair of the Vinh Thanh Commune People’s Committee, said the local authorities have been creating favorable conditions for local people to exploit sand.


“They (local people) exploit sand just to build their houses, not for sale. We cannot prohibit them,” he said.


However, reporters found that local people did not need so much sand to build their houses and that they exploited sand to sell for money.


Tens of sand-laden trucks were seen rolling on the asphalted road to the Vinh Thanh sea.


Meanwhile, head of the Phu Vang district’s environment Nguyen Van Chinh said that sand can be exploited only in certain areas and that sand exploitation in unprogrammed areas is prohibited.


However, he said he had just “heard” that local people were exploiting sand for sale and he needs more time to check the information before making decisions to stop illegal exploitation.

Nong Nghiep

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