Illegal exploitation is rife in Phu Quoc island. (Photo: daongoc.vn)
 
HCM City (VNA) - Authorities in Phu Quoc Island are strengthening oversight and protection of natural resources like sand and stone and cracking down on violators.

“We have completed and publicly announced a master plan for natural resource exploitation and instructed local authorities to be careful about granting licences,” said Le Quang Minh, head of the Phu Quoc Island District Natural Resources and Environment Sub-department.

“Local authorities must carefully calculate the demand for construction materials factoring in environmental protection and the socio-economic efficiency of each project as well as monitor and prevent illegal transfer of licences.”

The district has also tried to educate the public about natural resource laws to increase awareness of the need to protect natural resources and the environment.

Authorities are closely monitoring exploitation and severely penalising illegal activities. Towns and communes have established task forces and patrol stations.

According to the sub-department, most natural resources exploitation licences have expired.

Last year authorities had imposed fines of 1 billion VND (over 43,000) for 215 cases of violations.

But authorities plan to further increase patrols by officials because demand for soil, sand, and stone for construction remains enormous while most licences have expired and illegal exploitation is rife, especially under cover of darkness.

“A shortage of personnel for patrolling, low professional knowledge and the violent response from illegal exploiters are challenges in natural resource management,” Minh added.-VNA