The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) says Homa Bay County’s failure to introduce reforms in the mining sector has resulted in an unsustainable sand harvest in the region.
Nema says while the environmental watchdog tries to regulate sand quarrying and other mining activities to protect the environment, the decentralized entity engages in activities that frustrate the agency’s work
County Nema Director Josiah Nyandoro said the decentralized entity’s failure to take over the agency’s work will encourage indiscriminate mining.
The Homa Bay County government has placed tax officers on roads used by trucks hauling sand and other natural resources.
The drivers of the vehicles pay the district government so that they can drive freely.
“We need a multi-agency approach to deal with the threat,” Nyandoro said.
But for Nema, paying levies to transport sand and other minerals isn’t the only requirement for engaging in mining.
Since 2019, when the agency banned unregulated sand harvesting pending an environmental assessment of the sites, officials at the agency have clashed with individuals who own land where the soil is quarried.
All government agencies directly involved in this matter must address the issue,” he said. Mr Nyandoro said the Roads Department should also help Nema oversee enforcement of good sand extraction practices as excavations have damaged roads.
“Kenya Power, who was a big sacrifice, should also come on board. The practice has contributed to major losses for the company as its power poles fall due to weak foundations,” Mr Nyandoro said.