HCM City’s districts join battle with illegal sand miners

The People’s Committees of Can Gio district and district 9 will join forces with public security agencies, border guards and neighbouring provinces to fight illegal sand mining in Ho Chi Minh City.

Sand is being mined along the Sai Gon River 

Thedistricts share borders with HCM City’s neighbouring provinces, making itdifficult for them to tackle illegal sand mining by themselves. The Can Giocoast is reported to be badly hit by sand mining.

Arepresentative of the Can Gio District People’s Committee said the mining isusually done at night, which makes it hard for authorities to detect it ordeter offenders.

Therehave been cases of groups of illegal sand miners assaulting inspectors whenthey were detected.

Lawenforcement agencies blame the increasing incidence of mining to laxregulations and enforcement and lack of stringent penalties.

Sandmining is only treated as illegal when more than 50 cubic meters are exploited.

Thus,when a case is detected, violators throw sand back into the sea to escapepunishment.

In thefirst six months of the year 12 cases were detected on the Can Gio coast, andtotal fines of 278 million USD (12,000 USD) were collected.

Nguyen VanThanh, Vice Chairman of the District 9 People’s Committee, said the districtplans to collaborate with the city’s public security agencies, border guardsand agencies in Dong Nai province’s Bien Hoa city and Binh Duong province’s TanUyen district to crack down on illegal sand mining.

Their cooperationwould focus on exchange of information, supervision and prevention ofviolations, he said.

Thedistrict has asked market supervision teams to regularly inspect sand depotsand other selling points around the city, he said.

Traderswho fail to furnish certificates of origin for their sand would be reported toinvestigative agencies, he said.

In thefirst six months of the year public security agencies discovered 24 casesof illegal sand mining and seized 22 pumping machines, according to the municipalDepartment of Natural Resources and Environment.

Twopeople were prosecuted for illegal exploration and exploitation of naturalresources.

Thecity’s border guards detected another 35 cases and seized 53 machines.-VNS/VNA

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