Illegal sand mining along the Tien River, Dong Thap province, Vietnam

Illegal sand mining in Dong Thap province has drastically increased with the Vietnamese construction boom. But the sand rush is leaving villagers without ground under their feet.


<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">Recent growth in the Vietnamese construction sector has led to rising demand for construction materials such as sand and gravel, which in turn has caused a massive increase in illegal sand mining along Vietnamese rivers. The Tien River, flowing across the Dong Thap province, has become a central target of this ‘sand theft’, which is among the fundamental causes of growing river bed erosion, consequently leading to serious damages of nearby residential areas. Entire parts of houses have disappeared due to land subsidence, leaving them heavily ravaged [1]. Such landslides are going on at least since 2000 [2].</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">Incidences of land subsidence in Dong Thap province were reported from 40 communes across nine districts, spanning an area of 3,100ha [1], affecting up to 4,000 families [3]. According to the Dong Thap police, up to 200 illegal sand mining boats were operating in the province [4]. Illegal sand miners appear with large boats on the river, during night and day, and suck large amounts of sand from the river beds [1].<br/><br/>One of the illegal miners has been the private company Ngu Binh Co. Ltd., which previously had a license to mine sand that expired in 2011; however, the company continued to extract sand. In October 2012, the police detected the illegal activities and started to seize their vessels. Several company members were charged and arrested for illegal sand mining and for cooperating with local governmental officials in collecting protection payments from other illegal miners. In May 2013, several local government officials from Hong Ngu district were prosecuted for claiming illegal payments from sand extraction companies for the protection of their illicit activities. Ngu Binh Co. Ltd. reportedly paid around 43,000 USD per year to the Hong Ngu Binh District Party Committee for the protection of their illegal activities [4]. <br/><br/>While the Ngu Binh Company could be stopped, other illegal miners continue the sand rush along the Tien River. Among the districts currently affected is the Chau Thanh and Tan Hong District, Dong Thap province, in which villagers and sand thefts repeatedly clashed against each other [1]. Relocation of affected families has been among the proposed solutions, however this is becoming more and more difficult, as there is an increasing shortage in residential land in the region. Only few of the affected households have received new land plots [2;5].<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 Tien River, Dong Thap province, 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 Thap province</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Hong Ngu district, Chau Thanh ditrict, Tan Hong district, and others</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">Due to the illegal nature of the sand mining activities, no detailed information is available. According to the Dong Thap police, up to 200 illegal sand mining boats were operating in the province [4]. According to a report, individual operators can extract up to 10,000m3 per year [6].</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>3,100</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>unknown</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Semi-urban</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>4000 families (between 12,000 to 20,000 people)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>2000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/ngu-binh-company-limited'>Ngu Binh Company Limited</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a> - <small>sand and construction materials</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Hong Ngu District Party Committee; Natural Resources and Environment Department of Hong Ngu District; Irrigational Works Department of Dong Thap</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>unknown</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>LOW (some local organising)</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<br /> Local scientists/professionals</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Police crackdowns; Seizing of vessels</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>Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Noise pollution<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Deaths, Other Health impacts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>In other provinces, people have died through landslides caused by river erosion</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood</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>Compensation<br /> Corruption<br /> Court decision (victory for environmental justice)<br /> Migration/displacement</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">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [1] Toui Tre News online (19/04/2015): "Illegal sand mining partly to blame for land subsidence in southern Vietnam (photos)"<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/27566/illegal-sand-mining-partly-to-blame-for-land-subsidence-in-southern-vietnam-photos" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [2] Talk Vietnam online (21/08/2008): "Land erosion in the Mekong Delta threatens entire villages"<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.talkvietnam.com/2008/08/land-erosion-in-the-mekong-delta-threatens-entire-villages" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [3] Viet Nam News online (23/09/2014): "Erosion hits thousands all over Mekong Delta"<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://vietnamnews.vn/environment/260443/erosion-hits-thousands-all-over-mekong-delta.html " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [4] Vietnamnet.vn online (18/05/2013): "Dong Thap: District party officials protect illegal sand mining"<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/society/76066/dong-thap--district-party-officials-protect-illegal-sand-mining.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [5] Viet Nam News online (27/08/2012): "Riverbank erosion guts Delta homes"<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://vietnamnews.vn/environment/229279/riverbank-erosion-guts-delta-homes.html " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> General media report on the sand mining industry in Vietnam<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kj1OJ4WQto" 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>[6] Bank Erosion in Mekong Delta and along Red River in Vietnam (Report 2003)</strong> Source: http://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpublicaties.minienm.nl%2Fdownload-bijlage%2F53818%2Fbank-erosion-in-mekong-delta-report-mission-23-november-6-december-2003.pdf&ei=m8mKVe2SNIv4UL7ehKgN&usg=AFQjCNEGG5kREGPmvd46Uenl_VqO1OoEEw&sig2=cwJMCxNit-RC-7EcrkvOvw&bvm=bv.96339352,d.d24<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/bank-erosion-in-mekong-delta-report-mission-23-november-6-december-2003.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Damages</strong> Source: http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/27566/illegal-sand-mining-partly-to-blame-for-land-subsidence-in-southern-vietnam-photos<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/a___iTDDQgT8.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Damages</strong> Source: http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/27566/illegal-sand-mining-partly-to-blame-for-land-subsidence-in-southern-vietnam-photos<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/a__QJGjHHpB.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Damages</strong> Source: http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/27566/illegal-sand-mining-partly-to-blame-for-land-subsidence-in-southern-vietnam-photos<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/a__VGsBIeXb.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Damages</strong> Source: http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/27566/illegal-sand-mining-partly-to-blame-for-land-subsidence-in-southern-vietnam-photos<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/a__XNUKOkUX.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Sand extraction</strong> Source: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/society/76066/dong-thap--district-party-officials-protect-illegal-sand-mining.html<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/b___20130606150908-2.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>Sand extraction</strong> Source: http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/27566/illegal-sand-mining-partly-to-blame-for-land-subsidence-in-southern-vietnam-photos<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/a__rCCqrT66.jpg" 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)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>25/06/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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