Sand mining destroying rivers in Central Highlands, causing landslides

Created 01 June 2017
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Uncontrolled rampant sand exploitation is seriously affecting Krong Ana and Krong No, two large rivers in the Central Highlands. 

The river current has changed and hundreds of hectares of land have been lost.

Krong Ana (mother river) and Krong No (father river) are important to the economic and cultural life of the people in Dak Lak and Dak Nong. But they are in danger.

The Krong No river section which runs across Krong No district in Dak Nong province, has been a ‘hot spot’ of illegal sand exploitation for many years.

The district’s authorities believe that uncontrolled sand exploitation is the major cause of the landslide of 60 hectares of agricultural land. 

Bui Duc Han in Buon Choah commune complained that his family has lost two hectares of land and had to evacuate four times because the land has been gradually drifting into the river.

Ho Doan in Dak Nang commune has 2.5 hectares of coffee trees on Krong No riverside, a part of which has drifted into the river. Hundreds of other households in Krong No district have also been affected.

“Just on a short river section of 5 kilometers, 4-5 enterprises are exploiting sand. It is the reason behind the landslide,” Doan said, adding that though the reason is obvious, the problem still cannot be settled.

The sand overexploitation has also led to the same problems with Krong Ana in Krong Bong and Lak districts of Dak Lak province. 

In Krong Bong, the report of district authorities showed that the landslide has occurred in nine communes. The landslide is especially serious in the commune of Yang Reh with 48,994 square meters affected, Cu Kty (18,408 square meters) and Hoa Tan (1,680 square meters).

As the local authorities turn a deaf ear to the complaints, local people have to act to protect the rivers and their land.

Sam Tuan Anh in Dak Lieng commune of Lak district said he fought a sand miner who refused to stop mining and is being investigated.

A man in Mlieng hamlet said the vessels that suck sand from the riverbed appear at 3-4 pm every day. “Local people and sand miners have fought each other several times. They (sand miners) said they have licenses to exploit sand,” he said.

Nguyen Van Thiem from the Dak Lak provincial Department of Natural Resources and the Environment confirmed that the provincial authorities have granted sand exploitation licenses to 16 enterprises, which mine sand from 6-18 hours every day.


Source: Thien Nhien - VietNamNet

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