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Military Unit Admonished Over Controversial Construction Project in Ha Long Bay

Authorities in Quang Ninh province have halted a construction project near Ha Long Bay carried out by the Vietnamese Navy. 

According to Tuoi Tre, Quang Ninh officials suspended the naval project in response to complaints from local residents, who expressed concern that the work was causing damage to the environment of the famed UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Locals contacted provincial officials when they discovered what they first believed to be an illegal limestone mining project. According to the news outlet, residents photographed excavation equipment as well as conveyor belts carrying limestone from the site onto several boats.

Vu Van Hop, chief secretariat of the local province’s administration, announced at a press meeting on Tuesday that the construction was being carried out by the Brigade 170 naval unit as a national defense project, denying claims that the site was a limestone quarry, reports VietnamNet.

On Monday, Hop claimed the location of the site was within military territory, and the project was approved by the Ministry of National Defense. Leaders in Quang Ninh had visited the site and demanded all mining and construction be put to a halt, he told the meeting.

Quang Ninh officials also admonished Brigade 170, asking the military unit to make efforts to undo the environmental damage done as a result of the project. According to VietnamNet, Hop responded: "The navy also admitted their fault and said they would shut down the quarry and restore the environment.”

As one of the country's most visited tourist destinations, Ha Long Bay has had its fair share of environmental challenges. Earlier this year, director Tran Quoc Minh of Ha Long's Public Works Office told reporters that his department removes two tons of waste from the bay on a daily basis, while large-scale projects such as Vinpearl's Ha Long resort have also had an impact on the surrounding area.

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