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HomeUncategorizedIllegal Sand harvesting blamed for infrastructural degeneration in Yatta

Illegal Sand harvesting blamed for infrastructural degeneration in Yatta

KNA  Machakos County government has banned illegal sand harvesting in Ikombe ward of Yatta sub-county  owing to its devastating effects on the roads

           

 Speaking during a public baraza at Makutano market in Yatta, area Deputy Governor Eng Franics Maliti said that the county government was committed to bringing to an end illegal sand harvesting as it has become a major issue of concern among the residents.

            

He expressed concern that the illegal activities have largely contributed to the destruction of Kinyaata-Makutano-Kikesa-Kithimani road thus interfering significantly with the county’s efforts to develop the road networks in the area

            

“Noting with concern the devastating economic and health issues emanating from this matter, together with other local leaders and the local community we have banned with immediate effect sand harvesting business in Makutano, Ikombe Ward and the surrounding areas since it’s not gazetted in accordance with the Law,” said Maliti.

            

Yatta Member of Parliament, Charles Kilonzo, County Executive in charge of Trade and Industrialisation, Lazarus Kivuva and County Attorney James Kathili, accompanied the DG.

            

Others present were MCA for Ikombe Ward, Jacqueline Nziva among other national, county officials and local leaders.

            

The Machakos County Sand Harvesting Act, 2014 (No 3 of 2014 seeks to regulate sand harvesting and related activities and to ensure sustainable exploitation and utilisation of sand, to provide for equitable sharing of the accruing benefits and for connected purposes.

            

The objective and purpose of this Act is to provide a legal framework in Machakos County for sand harvesting, i.e. the removal, extraction, harvesting or scooping of sand from a designated area.

            

In particular, the Act provides, among other things, for the registration of sand dealers and sand harvesting associations, environmental impact assessment and the rehabilitation and protection of the environment from harmful effects of sand harvesting and related activities in addition to also enabling communities to participate in the management of sand harvesting.

           

 The Act establishes a County Sand Harvesting Management Committee, which shall be responsible for, among other things, registration and formulation of environmental conservancy programmes in relation to sand harvesting.

            

According to the Act, the committee shall approve the establishment of such a number of Sand Harvesting Associations as it may deem fit and in accordance with the law relating to the registration of associations, self-help groups and community based organisations.

            

In addition, no person shall use, cause or permit to remove sand from any river, farm, ranch or other land for the purposes of sale unless a valid license is issued under this Act.

            

However, various leaders have repeatedly blamed the police for failure to enforce the Act by colluding to shield illegal sand harvesters.

            

During last year’s Mashujaa day celebrations, former Machakos County Commissioner Fredrick Ndunga asked the county government to collaborate with security officials in addressing the challenges of sand harvesting in Kathiani sub-county, where the vice was slowly creeping back.

            

In January 2019, Former Inspector General of police, Joseph Boinet vowed to take action against any police officer found to be involved in aiding illegal sand harvesting in Mwala sub-county.

            

In response to a letter by Mwala MP Vincent Musyoka, Boinet said he would take action against any police officer found to be aiding in the banned sand trade in the sub county.

            

The MP said that he had received numerous complaints from residents and locals of Mbiuni about some police officers escorting lorries with sand from the areas.

            

Previously, four lorries had been burnt during the late hours of the night within a span of two months by irate locals protesting the sand harvesting that went unabated.

           

 Sources told KNA that some of the most notorious sand harvesting spots in Mwala include banks of river Kalenga, Nditha and Nyaanyaa rivers.

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