Developing alternatives to river sand
Promote the production of high quality manufactured sand from hard-rock quarries (if not within the VMD, in central or northern Viet Nam) a measure that is being deployed with significant success in case study several regions. Indications are that there are some hard-rock resources within the VMD, but the licensing/permitting regime hitherto does not sufficiently encourage development.
Promote the sorting and recycling of construction and demolition waste to produce both concreting aggregates as well as lower-grade leveling fill, with the potential additional benefits in reduced landfilling and aggregates transport. Also promote optimal beneficiation of low grade, but inert wastes for land raising applications.
Suggested introduction of a responsible sourcing certification scheme for construction aggregates and land raising materials. These would have to accompany any supply of such materials, failure by construction project developers to be able to produce certificates for materials used could be punishable by fines.
Royalties, fines and the proceeds of auctions could be paid to the regulatory authority to internalize the externalities of sand mining and be hypothecated for use in Lower Mekong Delta protection activities (including funding of: (1) the personnel and operating costs of the authority, (2) monitoring and enforcement activities, (3) the costs of the LMD Sand Project, Leader (see later), as well as (4) financial incentives to communities who actively work against illegal extraction – maybe as some form of monitoring grant per km for communities on each side of the rivers). Crucially, these additional costs would also aim deliberately to drive up the price of river sand (thereby making alternatives more economically attractive).