Titanium excavations bury gardens, spark pollution fears

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Authorities in the south central province of Binh Thuan Saturday suspended titanium excavation by a local firm after sand discharged from the work buried local houses and gardens.

 

On Friday, the expanse of sand more than 30 meters high from the excavation at Duong Anh JSC broke its dyke, releasing thousands of cubic meters of sand to bury a residential area of around 5,000 square meters.

 

Nearly 200 dragon fruit cacti of local farmer Tran Van Chau were buried by the sand.

 

The dyke breach also caused  leakage of oil, polluting the environment.

 

Tran Van Vinh, president of the company, said heavy rains over the past few days had weakened the foundation of the dyke.

 

But Le Van Hue, head of a supervision team formed by locals, said he has warned the company many times that the discharge of sand into such high heaps would not be safe, the Tuoi Tre reported.

 

Immediately after the break, local residents rushed to the company offices and asked its workers to help save their trees and assets but they were rejected, Hue said.

 

Duong Anh Company has been allowed to excavate titanium from a 7.2 hectare area since June this year.

 

Also on Friday, authorities in Binh Dinh Province, to the north of Binh Thuan, ordered a halt to titanium excavation by two companies in response to public concerns about water pollution.

 

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The province's authorities received a lot of complaints about the excavation polluting local water sources.

 

Around a dozen locals have been visiting the Nhon Hoi Economic Zone everyday in a bid to stop the excavation work carried out by Anh Vi Commercial Company Ltd. on 42 hectares and H.B.C Investment and Service JSC on 67 hectares.

 

The locals said that the excavation, which is located too close to their houses, has lowered water levels in many wells and polluted others.

 

According to local reports, some people have damaged the properties of the companies.

 

Meanwhile, provincial authorities said tests show that the water is usable and not polluted.

 

They said locals' accusation was groundless and ordered people to stop trying to prevent ongoing excavation work.

 

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