Illegal sand mining along the Dong Nai River, Vietnam

Illegal sand mining along the Dong Nai River is causing large environmental and socio-economic destruction, including death of residents due to massive land-slides.

<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Following the recent Vietnamese construction boom and its rapidly growing demand for construction materials such a sand and gravel, illegal sand extraction along the Dong Nai River has drastically increased during the last decade, in spite of provincial and national efforts to ban sand mining activities [1].</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">Large-scale river sand extraction has strong negative impacts on the environment and the local economy, including include riverbank erosion; removal of organic matter relevant to aquatic organisms; changing temperature and water flow dynamics associated to a loss of aquatic habitats; siltation; noise pollution; damages to nearby infrastructure; as well as reduced fish stock; loss of river dikes and associated agricultural areas [2]. In Dong Nai province, sand mining has been associated to many cases of heavy land erosion and land-slides caused by changing hydrological dynamics, during which people have lost their land, their orchards and their houses to the river [1]. While some people were forced to relocate their houses [3], other residents were reported to have died in such land-slides [4]. <br/><br/>The local government and police have tried to control the situation, but complain that they lack staff and resources to effectively counteract illegal sand mining. Illegal sand miners, in turn, are well organized and often have their own guards to watch if any inspectors arrive, in order to timely warn their colleagues to get away. While some vessels could be seized by the police, inspections have also caused confrontations between the sand miners and the police. Fines for sand mining are also too low and people demand much higher penalties [1;4].<br/><br/>In response to the lack of public action against river sand extraction, villagers have launched an online petition to the Bien Hoa City environmental police and the Dong Nai Department of Natural Resources and Environment, demanding better monitoring and protection of the rivers [4]. Furthermore, they have started to set up their own watch teams that would stay out during night to guard the area. However, encounters with sand miners have often resulted in violent clashes, leading to injured villagers [1;3;4].<br/><br/>Due to the illicit nature of the highly organized illegal activities and the lack of public resources to control the situation, it has become very difficult to end the problems of illegal sand mining, caused by a rapidly growing construction sector. As one police officer stated in an interview with Viet Nam News: "The fight against illegal sand exploitation will end when there is no demand for construction.” [1].<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Illegal sand mining along the Dong Nai River, Vietnam</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/vietnam">Vietnam</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Dong Nai province; Binh Duong province</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>i.e. Vinh Cuu District; Nhon Trach District; and Buu Long, Long Bing Tanh and Hiep Hoa in Bien Hoa City</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/sand-gravel'>Sand, gravel</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Dong Nai River is the country’s longest inland river. Since years it is threatened by illegal sand mining.</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">Among the main illegal sand mining hotspots are Binh Hoa and Bingh Loi Communes of Vinh Cuu District; Long Tan and Phuoc An Communes in Nhon Trach Distrcit; and Buu Long, Long Bing Tanh and Hiep Hoa in Bien Hoa City [3].<br/><br/>In 2012, it was reported that only in Bien Hoa City, 18 cases of illegal sand mining were detected and 27 boats were seized [3]. In the Ho Chi Minh area, more than 40 boats were caught in District 9 and 6 boats in Cu Chi District [1].<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>NA</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Semi-urban</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>Dang Nai population living close to the river</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>2000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Bien Hoa City environmental police; Dong Nai Department of Natural Resources and Environment</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>no information on EJOs could be found</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Farmers<br /> Fishermen<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Blockades<br /> Development of a network/collective action<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths, Other Health impacts<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Malnutrition</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Residents have died, following land-slides</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Other socio-economic impacts<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Damages to infrastructure (bridges, houses); declining fish stocks; declining agricultural area due to dike degradation</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>In operation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Migration/displacement<br /> Repression<br /> Strengthening of participation<br /> Violent targeting of activists</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>Petitioners demand better state monitoring and protection of rivers against illegal sand miners, as well as higher penalties [4].</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Illegal sand mining goes on.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> 2010 Mineral Law of Vietnam<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> 2005 Mineral law of Vietnam<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [2] Nguyen Mau Dung, 2011. River Sand Mining And Managament: A Case Of Cau River In Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam. Research Report No. 2011 RR7. Published by the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [1] Viet Nam News online (16/07/2013): "Illegal sand miners plague Dong Nai" (accessed 06/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href=" " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [3] dti news online (13/03/2013): "Dong Nai people struggle to fight illegal sand exploitation" (accessed 06/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href=" " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [4] Petition on "Stop Illegal Sand Exploitation in Vietnam" (accessed 06/07/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>River sand transport</strong> Source:<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Sand mining industry</strong> Source:<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Local guard watching the river</strong> Source:<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Sunken sand mining boat (after inspection and escape)</strong> source:<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>A. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim "dot" scheidel "at" gmail "dot" com</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>16/07/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>