Sand exploitation destroying Red River
VietNamNet Bridge - The Red River, called ‘Song Cai’, meaning ‘major river,’ or ‘Song Me’, meaning 'mother river’ is considered a national ‘treasure’. But pollution and sand exploitation are destroying the river. 

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A series of problems on the Red River were discovered many years ago. Fish died en masse in many places, a sign of water pollution. Many pump stations which served irrigation have been left idle because of the sharp decline in the river’s water level. Meanwhile, landslides have been seen everywhere.

The problems became so serious that the government requested ministries and branches to carry out scientific research to find solutions to save the river.

Tran Dinh Hoa, deputy director of the Vietnam Water Resources Institute, said uncontrolled sand exploitation had damaged the river. 

A series of problems on the Red River were discovered many years ago. Fish died en masse in many places, a sign of water pollution.

Pham Huu Dong, a ship driver on the Viet Tri – Hanoi waterways route, said he has to strain to observe the sand exploitation ships on the river to avoid them.

“The river has been cut into pieces and sand is exploited everywhere,” he said. “There must be thousands of sand exploitation sites on the Red River.”

A report shows that on the river section which runs across Phu Tho and Vinh Phuc provinces alone, there are sand exploitation sites run by 14 licensed sand exploiters. There are also many other exploitation sites run by individuals and unlicensed businesses.

According to the Vinh Tuong district People’s Committee, seven companies have been allowed by the Vinh Phuc provincial authorities to exploit sand in the locality, which comprises only four communes with the length of several kilometers.

Older people, who have been living on the Red riverside for years, noted that the river is less ‘aggressive’ in the rainy season. People do not see the floods which swept houses and cattle away in the past. 

However, disasters now occur in the dry season.

Le Dac Tat, a local fisherman, said in the past, when the river got ‘angry’, people would shout for the God’s help. But now when natural calamities come, they do not call for the God’s help, because they know that humans are the cause of the calamities.

Uncontrolled sand exploitation has changed the ‘characteristics’ of the river.

Sang Son Company alone has been allowed to exploit 1,000 cubic meters of sand a day for 10 years. And there are many Sang Sons on the river.


Nong Nghiep

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