Researching sand-banks to overcome critical river erosion and environmental pressures from sand mining in Mekong Delta


This information was delivered at a workshop organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Vietnam Disaster Management Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) yesterday (3rd March). More specifically, about 500 hectares of soil have been eroded on river banks in Mekong Delta. Mining sand mainly occurred at the last section of the Mekong river. Currently, annually 80 companies are licensed to exploit 28 million tons of sand on the river. However, the actual figure on the amount of river sand mined is uncontrollable. Sand mining and hydropower plants caused a yearly loss of app. 25 million tons of sediment. The number is expected to increase in the coming years.

According to Lê Thành Chương, from Southern Institute of Water Resources Research, currently, there are over 620 landslide sites with a total length of about 61 km. Of which, nearly 150 points of extreme danger with 127 km long and 137 points of danger with 193 km long. Illegal sand mining still occurs in many localities due to the growing demand for construction and ground leveling. 

Excessive sand mining causes not only social and economic impacts from river erosion but also other critical environmental burdens. In this regard, experts propose to study sand-banks for the Mekong Delta. This is to create a scientific foundation for developing sustainable sand mining policies and to contribute to increasing resilient capacity and resilience to climate change of the Mekong Delta. 

Sources & further information: “Sông miền Tây xói mòn vì khai thác cát” at  and “Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long ‘biến dạng’ vì nhu cầu cát vô tận của con người” at, accessed on 4 March 2022.