Khi “mafia cát” hoành hành

Trong bối cảnh các tòa cao ốc không ngừng mọc lên ở châu Á và châu Phi, nhu cầu cát phục vụ hoạt động xây dựng là rất lớn. Chính vì vậy, nạn “cát tặc” cũng gia tăng, khiến cho vật liệu cát ở khu vực này ngày càng trở nên khan hiếm.

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Khai thác cát trên đảo Cape Verde

Bãi biển “mất tích” theo cát tặc

Khi thủy triều rút xuống cũng là lúc bọn khai thác trộm cát hoạt động mạnh trên quần đảo Cape Verde. Nhóm này gồm khoảng 100 người, đàn ông liên tục lặn xuống để xúc cát, đổ vào xô để phụ nữ đưa lên bờ, chất thành đống lớn. Họ tranh thủ khai thác cát trong thời gian thủy triều xuống thấp, khoảng 6 tiếng mỗi ngày.

Nằm cách Senegal khoảng 600km về phía Tây, Cape Verde gồm 9 hòn đảo có người ở tại Đại Tây Dương. Khu vực này được xem là một trong những địa điểm ổn định và an toàn nhất ở châu Phi. Nơi đây sẽ là điểm đến mơ ước đối với khách du lịch nếu như người dân địa phương không hủy hoại những bãi biển tuyệt đẹp của họ. Cát trên bãi biển đang dần biến mất, chỉ còn trơ lại đất, đá. Nhưng không vì thế mà tình trạng ăn trộm cát giảm đi. Đợi lúc thủy triều rút, bọn trộm lại tập trung xúc cát từ dưới đáy biển và để lại một số hố sâu tới 2m.

Không chỉ ở Cape Verde, tình trạng các bãi biển đang dần biến mất cũng xuất hiện tại nhiều khu vực khác trên thế giới như Kenya, New Zealand, Jamaica và Morocco. Nhu cầu sử dụng cát tăng cao vô hình trung thúc đẩy nạn “cát tặc” gia tăng và được xem như “nghề” kinh doanh hấp dẫn. Thị trấn nhỏ Ribeira da Barca trên đảo Cape Verde, chỉ khoảng 4.000 dân sinh sống, nhưng rất ít người có nghề nghiệp ổn định. Chính vì vậy, nhiều người bất chấp nguy hiểm đi khai thác trộm cát để bán. Do tình trạng trộm cát diễn ra liên tục, nên bãi biển bắt đầu chìm dần, nước biển gây xói mòn và làm sạt lở nhiều ngôi nhà ven biển. Khi mối nguy hiểm gia tăng, người dân địa phương đã phải đề nghị chính quyền xây một bờ kè bằng bê tông bảo vệ bờ biển.

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Khoảng 385 triệu tấn cát được đổ vào dự án đảo nhân tạo hình lá cọ ở Dubai

Nguy cơ hiển hiện

Cát từng được cho là vô tận, thì nay đột ngột trở nên khan hiếm. Nó được sử dụng trong hoạt động sản xuất chíp máy tính, đĩa, điện thoại di động và xi măng dùng trong xây dựng các tòa nhà chọc trời ở Thượng Hải (Trung Quốc) hay đảo nhân tạo ở Dubai (Các tiểu vương quốc A rập thống nhất), Qatar và Bahrain. Như ở Dubai, 385  triệu tấn cát đã được đổ vào dự án đảo nhân tạo hình lá cọ. Sau dự án này, Dubai lại tiếp tục thực hiện dự án đảo nhân tạo khác mang tên “The World”.

Chương trình môi trường Liên hợp quốc (UNEF) ước tính, tiêu thụ trên toàn cầu ở mức trung bình 40 tỷ tấn mỗi năm, với gần 30 tỷ tấn dùng trong bê tông. Khối lượng đó đủ để xây dựng một bức tường bao quanh trái đất.

Cũng giống như các nhiên liệu hóa thạch khác như than hay dầu mỏ, cát phải mất hàng nghìn năm để hình thành. “Cát giống như dầu mỏ. Nó là hữu hạn. Nếu không cẩn thận, chúng ta sẽ hết sạch cát”, nhà khoa học Klaus Schwarzer thuộc trường Đại học Kiel của Đức cảnh báo.
Năm 2012, tổ chức môi trường Global Witness đã công bố các bức ảnh vệ tinh cho thấy lãnh thổ Singapore đã rộng thêm 22% trong vòng 50 năm qua. Tổ chức này đã cung cấp bằng chứng cho thấy cát được sử dụng để mở rộng Singapore đến từ các quốc gia láng giềng như Indonesia và Malaysia và trong một số trường hợp là do  khai thác trái phép. Ở nhiều nơi, mặc dù đã có luật cấm hút cát trái phép, nhưng cát vẫn trở thành hàng hóa hấp dẫn trên thị trường “chợ đen”. Gần như không ngày nào, báo chí Ấn Độ không đưa tin về các giao dịch của “mafia cát”. Thậm chí, chúng còn tấn công cả lực lượng thi hành công vụ khi bị ngăn chặn.

Trong khi đó, tại Đức, các công ty sử dụng tàu hút bùn cỡ lớn để hút cát từ những vùng biển Bắc và biển Baltic. Các tổ chức bảo tồn thiên nhiên lo ngại, việc nạo vét có thể làm xáo trộn môi trường sống của cá heo và hải cẩu, ảnh hưởng lâu dài đến hệ sinh thái đáy đại dương. “Bất cứ vật gì bị hút vào cũng đều bị giết”, ông Kim Detloff thuộc Liên minh Bảo tồn thiên nhiên và Đa dạng sinh học ở Đức nói. Trong một lần lặn thám hiểm khu vực hút cát ngoài khơi đảo Rügen tại Biển Baltic, ông Klaus Schwarzer thuộc trường Đại học Kiel của Đức đã phát hiện ra những hố sâu sau nhiều thập kỷ vẫn chưa thể trở lại bình thường.

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61 thoughts on “Khi “mafia cát” hoành hành

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