Local June 6, 2013 | 11:19 am

Santiago Mayor dredges Yaque river illegally: Environmentalist

Santiago.- Rafey barrio community leader Alvaro Sosa on Wednesday began a vigil on the North Yaque riverbank Beltway, demanding that mayor Gilberto Serulle halt the dredging of the sand from the waterway.

The president of the neighborhood council, who said he witnessed the major damage caued by the December 2007 flood, warned that the dredging of the Yaque River is causing deaths and the destruction of hundreds of homes.

Standing atop a mountain of sand extracted from the river, Sosa placed a national flag and a warning in giant letters: "Save the Yaque."

"Despite two bans from the Environment Ministry the mayor brought more equipment to resume dredging the sand. That’s why I’ve been motivated to begin this vigil," Sosa said.

He said Serulle has yet to disclose where he’s been taking the thousands of cubic meters of sand.

He called on Santiago’s environmentalists to join the fight to prevent the authorities from violating the law and the destruction of Yaque’s banks he affirms has bee occurring since February.

Sosa added that Serulle has to specify the destination of the aggregates extracted , which, according to the Cibao Ecological Society (SOECI), is worth more than RD$800 per cubic meter.

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