Barge full of sand seen off Pulau Ubin a week ago. Where does the sand come from?
The surge in exports from Vietnam followed Cambodia’s decision to ban further exports of its own river sand in order to reserve it for domestic use and limit further erosion of river banks.
This is despite a Vietnamese ban on sand and gravel exports.
The Vietnamese Prime Ministerial Instruction No. 29, issued in October 2008, established a temporary ban on Vietnam’s own exports of sand and gravel exploited from rivers and seas.
There was a huge loophole, however, exports could continue indefinitely under contracts signed before November 30, 2008. Based on this clause, sand is still exported to Singapore.
When Cambodia still exported sand, sand from Vietnam’s Mekong Delta was not favoured because it is of lower quality than Cambodian river sand. But following the Cambodian ban, there was a surge in sand exports from Vietnam.
“Lured by virtually unlimited profits,” said a Vietnamese Customs official, “sand exporters change the date of signing contracts to before November 30 2008 to continue exporting sand.”
Full article on the wildsingapore news blog.
A day after this report, there was another report that Cambodian customs officials prevented the export of several thousand tonnes of sand to Singapore in a recent raid on coastal dredging operations there.
The report also noted that hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sand from Cambodia's rivers and coastal areas have been dredged and shipped to Singapore for use in land-reclamation projects. And that Indonesia and the Philippines are among the countries that have banned the practice of dredging because of its destructive impact on riverbeds and shorelines.
- Vietnam minister seeks ban on sand exports Business Times 17 Sep 09;
- Call to probe sand transfer from Thailand to Singapore Apinya Wipatayotin, The Bangkok Post 17 Sep 09;
- Illegal sand dredging in the Mekong Delta investigated Vietnam News 9 Sep 09;
- Vietnam to investigate booming sand exports thanhniennews.com 25 Aug 09;
- River sand is Vietnam's latest endangered resource monstersandcritics.com 31 Aug 09;
- Sand dredging "a problem on all the Vietnam’s largest rivers": Vietnam’s rivers call for help VietNamNet Bridge 28 Aug 09;
- Sand mining off Kusu Island Aug-Dec 09
- Sand mining in Vietnam to be regulated
- Cambodia bans sand exports due to environmental impact of dredging
- Sand for Singapore taken from Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary?
- Sand mining on Changi East
- Singapore's sandy footprint
- More media articles on sand exports to Singapore on the wildsingapore news blog.