China to crackdown on illegal sand mining in the Yangtze

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Chinese authorities set to end illegal sand mining operations on the Yangtze River as they affect shipping and make the region more prone to drought.

Excessive sand mining on the Yangtze River has drawn the ire of the Chinese Government and is to be restricted, reports Reuters. The illegal activity has been blamed for decreased river levels and droughts, but also floods.

The Yangtze provides a third of China’s water and the mining operations are believed to be responsible for the abnormally low river levels in recent years. Sand mining has also affected shipping routes and made it harder for authorities to control summer floods.

Local authorities have been instructed to draw up plans to regulate sand mining and to ban or restrict the activity in sensitive or restricted areas. The Communist Party directive did not ban mining outright, however.

The industry has become a lucrative source of income after a moratorium on fishing in the river was implemented some years ago and mining has been implemented with organised crime and corruption in the region.

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