VietNamNet Bridge - The Ca Mau headland could disappear altogether if authorities fail to prevent rock falls into the sea and soil erosion by wind and rain, environmentalists said on Wednesday.
More than 1,100m of the headland have already been lost and the rate of erosion shows no sign of declining, said To Quoc Nam, deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, at a workshop to discuss ways to protect the promontory.
"If no effective measures are taken to stop the land erosion, there is a high risk that the headland will be lost," he said.
"No residents live here so landslides have resulted in no loss of lives or material damage but the headland is significant to the country in terms of security and politics. It also serves as an ecological tourism site," Nam said.
He said a number of factors were to blame for the erosion of the headland, which is about 120km from Ca Mau City.
"The main reasons are deforestation, tidal changes and particularly the weak and unstable geological structure of the land which makes it easier for landslides to occur," he said.
He also said rainfall in the area averaged 2.3 metres a year, which led to flooding and soil erosion.
Le Phat Quoi, from HCM City National University's Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, agreed that land erosion was caused by multiple factors, but said deforestation by men had aggravated the problem and was easily preventable.
Southernmost Ca Mau Province is home to 27 kinds of mangrove tree, which help to prevent the sea eroding the land. However, a large swathe of mangrove forest has been destroyed by landslides, he said.
As a result, salt water has encroached on to the mainland and eroded coastal land, he said.
Nam said local authorities had worked with scientists to find ways to prevent the headland from falling into the sea, such as building embankments along the headland. However, because of the unstable nature of the bedrock, dykes degrade rapidly.
"The province invested billions of Vietnamese dong in building and upgrading embankments to protect the headland from landslide but the dyke collapsed several years later," Nam said.
"We are making further studies of the geology, tides and changing weather conditions in the area in order to build long-lasting and effective dykes," he added.
To slow down the effects of land erosion, the authorities plan to plant trees, curb deforestation, create alluvial sand plains and build up coastal embankments, Nam said.