Vietnam is known for its stunning coastline and a succession of gorgeous bays, including Cam Ranh, Nha Trang and Lan Ha. The most popular and well-known is Ha Long Bay, a Unesco World Heritage site in north-eastern Vietnam – but the bay’s famous landscape is under threat, as a natural attraction at the heart of the bay is reportedly at risk of collapse.
According to a report released by Vietnam’s Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources, the iconic ‘Kissing Rocks’ are in danger of collapse due to severe erosion. Ho Tien Chung, a researcher from the Institute, said ‘Tourists can see the rocks that are precarious at low tide.’
‘The water level then is low, exposing the supporting foot of the rocks which are gradually being eroded, causing a risk of collapse if no measures are taken to protect and reinforce them soon.’
The experts trying to assess the damage to the rocks observed some deep fissures creating a geological fracture, making them incredibly fragile. Rising sea levels play a huge role in endangering the islets, with other notable areas in the bay damaged or under threat because of coastal erosion.
However, another major issue is illegal fishing and overtourism. Boats not keeping enough distance contributes to the rocks’ erosion, as increased churn and cement could become lodged into cracks in the rocks, and do further damage to their precarious foundations. Researchers from the institute observed one boat coming within less than 20 metres of them.
Subsequently, the report has called for bay regulations to be implemented by officials, such as a stricter speed limit on boats and discouragement of fishing close to endangered rocks. Let’s hope the measures needed to protect the ‘Kissing Rocks’ are implemented sooner rather than later.
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