12 July 2009

Sand mining in Vietnam to be regulated

After Cambodia’s ban on sand exports, hundreds of barges have been working at full-blast dredging sand on a main branch of the Mekong causing irregular water flows and inflicting major environmental damage.

In addition, at least another 300 boats have been used to carry sand to foreign boats from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia or domestic construction firms.

As a result, the Mekong Delta City of Can Tho is to regulate sand dredging and selling.

Authorities have already given 25 licenses to 16 businesses to exploit more than 25.2 million cubic meters of sand. However, every day hundreds of unlicensed sand dredgers and transporters, both domestic and foreign, work on this section.

Estimates of dredged sand exported to foreign countries vary from 25,000 to 50,000 tons.

According to Phan Van Ho, deputy head of the Can Tho City People's Committee Secretariat, another “sensitive” issue to draw much public interest is evidence of illegal dredging disappears after unannounced inspections.

Such uncontrolled actions cause riverbanks to collapse, pollution, and sand shortage, but provide large profits to individuals without benefit to the State.

Full report Mekong River sand dredging to be regulated, Saigon GP Daily 12 Jul 09, on the wildsingapore news blog.

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