CHENGDU — Over a dozen sand mines in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River in Southwest China's Sichuan province have been closed to protect the local environment.
Starting in April this year, a total of 18 sand mines were closed, according to Serang Yeshe, an official with the government of Baiyu County on the Jinshajiang River, a major tributary of the Yangtze.
The illegal mines lacked sufficient environmental protection facilities, failed to meet sewage standards and adversely impacted local agriculture, he said.
There are 230 rivers in Baiyu, and there were many illegal mines along the rivers, he said.
"We only had five law enforcement inspectors. We increased the number to 15, and trained 30 people to assist with inspections," he said.
"If we allow the illegal mines to continue, there may be great risk of man-made disasters in the flood season," he said.
According to a government plan, a maximum of seven mines are allowed to operate every year, and their total annual capacity will be limited to 300,000 cubic meters.