Stop Illegal Sand Exploitation in Vietnam

Target: Bien Hoa City environmental police and Dong Nai Department of Natural Resources and Environment

Goal: Stop illegal sand exploiters and protect the region’s land from unnecessary erosion and destruction.

Residents in Vietnam’s Dong Nai Province are hopelessly trying to protect their homes and farms from erosion as a result of illegal sand exploitation. Illicit sand is transported on barges to nearby cities and sells for top dollar. Land erosion has swept away numerous homes, killing residents. We must stop the sale and exploitation of illegal sand in Vietnam to save valuable farming and residential properties.

The illegal exploitation of sand has been a growing problem throughout Vietnam. Authorities have failed to take action against perpetrators along the Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City, and the Dong Nai Province.  Exploiters bring loud excavating machinery to these regions in the middle of the night to fill boats with sand and transport it to nearby cities for sale. According to Look At Vietnam, “A local man told that dredgers always tasked some people to keep watch along paths leading to the river. In case of inspectors arriving unexpectedly at the scene, they would call their accomplices and timely warn so as to switch off machines and make a quick getaway.”

The rice field’s of local farmers have been destroyed due to flooding and fruit orchards are filling with cracks from the erosion. The Department of Natural Resources and Environment claim to not have sufficient resources to handle sand dredgers, who always seek out sophisticated ways to flee. The current fine for a sand mining conviction is far too low and penalties must be increased.

Not only is sand exploitation threatening Vietnam’s environment, it’s also threatening the safety of families in the region. Tran Van Lai from Hiep Hoa Commune said local people had no other choice but stay up late at night to guard and detect illegal sand exploiters but they often face the threat of violence. “My children came to meet illegal sand exploiters who did not change their behavior but attack them. Some of my children were injured and frightened as well,” he said.

Sign the below petition to urge Vietnam’s government to guard the areas most affected by illegal sand exploitation and enforce stricter penalties for exploiters.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Bien Hoa City environmental police and Dong Nai Department of Natural Resources and Environment,

The growing issue of illegal sand exploitation in various regions throughout your country is a serious concern. Land erosion has swept away numerous homes, killing residents. Not only is sand exploitation threatening Vietnam’s environment, it’s also threatening the safety of families in the region.

I am urging you to ensure that the Dong Nai Province and other affected areas are guarded and monitored against sand exploiters. I am also urging you to increase the fines and penalties for convicted exploiters so that this devastating practice can be stopped. If we do not find a way to end the sand exploitation, Vietnam’s natural resources will soon vanish.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ronald Tan via Flickr

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