Jembrana Community Battered by Sand Theft

NEGARA

Illegal sand mining from a Jembrana beach is threatening to destroy a coastal road, and is causing tensions amongst local residents.

Villagers in Pasar Yehembang near Negara have complained to regency authorities that repeated gathering of sand from local beaches for use in construction work has caused increased erosion along the banks of the nearby Yehembang River.

A local villager who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity said that those responsible were also Yehembang residents.

He said that a group of around eight men regularly loaded the beach sand into sacks and delivered it to the nearby metalled road to be collected by trucks.

“They even do it in broad daylight, if they get an order [for sand]. It makes me wonder what the local security officers are actually doing,” he said, adding that village officials who had attempted to take a stand against the sand stealing had received threats from the culprits.

Responding to questions from reporters about efforts to stamp out sand theft, Jembrana Police spokesman I Ketut Wiratma said that a joint effort was needed.

“We can’t be there every day, and guarding beach sand is not the only thing we have to do,” he said, adding that local village authorities needed to play a greater part in protecting the environment.

“Villages also have to take a role in making people who currently enjoy taking sand from beaches aware and encouraging them to protect the environment,” he said.

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