Bani, DR: While the Ministry of the Environment denied that sand is being extracted from protected areas of Las Dunas de Baní, Banilejas authorities, ecologists, and environmental defenders expressed their concern yesterday after learning that clandestine sand excavations and forest depredation of that natural monument continue unpunished.
Mayor Santo Ramírez believes that the Ministry of the Environment should put more vigilance over this ecological heritage to stop and prevent the frequent attacks to which it is subjected by groups seeking personal benefits.
Senator Milcíades Franjul spoke out against this outrage and revealed that he had submitted a draft resolution to Congress to amend the Law on Protected Areas and declare Las Dunas a “National Park” to “guarantee the conservation and preservation of representative samples of the different ecosystems and the natural heritage of the Dominican Republic.”
Yesterday, an environmental commission’s visit was expected, indicating the governor Ángela Yadira Báez, would descend at the excavations’ site.
But, after 6:00 in the afternoon, it was reported that it had yet to arrive in this city.
Listín Diario published an extensive report yesterday that gives accounts of large sinkholes that hurt the bowels of the thousand-year-old mountains of sand, Las Dunas de Las Calderas, as well as all its endemic and particular vegetation.
Fabio Herrera Miniño, from the Cerro Cucurucho de Peravia Rescue and Protection Board, also reacted to this news, stating that the information about the depredation of our Dunes “is highly worrying.”
“In these events there is complicity and a lack of exemplary sanctions,” said Herrera Miniño.
Ismael Díaz Melo, a member of the Banilejos Society of Architects, said that, for years, alert calls have been recurring in the face of the constant attacks suffered by the Las Dunas monument, a heritage listed among the ten best tourist attractions in our country.
The seriousness of this situation, he specified, “is that this park has a staff of employees who are paid to protect it” and, even worse, is that the Las Calderas Naval Base is located within this natural reserve.
“The people are paying the salaries of civil servants and the military to protect our natural heritage and they are indolent, or due to their suspicious indifference to these attacks, it seems that they are also part of the problem,” the architect said, indignant.
Meanwhile, the ecologist Alexis Agramonte wondered, “how is it possible that everyone here sees what is happening with the Dunes, the permanent damage, except the authorities that are there to care for them.”