Kenya’s Nema blames Homa Bay County for illegal mining activities

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Kenya’s Nema blames Homa Bay County for illegal mining activities

The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) in Kenya has faulted Homa Bay County over illegal mining activities.

The firm says failure by the county to introduce reforms in the mining sector has led to unsustainable sand harvesting in the region. While the environmental watchdog looks at regulating sand excavation and other mining activities in a bid to protect the environment, the devolved unit is engaging in activities that negate the agency’s work.

Indiscriminate mining

County Nema Director Josiah Nyandoro said failure by the devolved unit to embrace the work that the agency is doing will encourage indiscriminate mining. Homa Bay County government has deployed revenue officers to roads used by lorries ferrying sand and other natural resources. Drivers of the vehicles pay the county government so that they are allowed to operate freely.

“We need an inter-agency approach to deal with the menace,” Mr Nyandoro said.

But to Nema, paying cess for transporting sand and other minerals is not the only requirement they need to engage in mining. Since 2019 when the agency banned unregulated sand harvesting until sites undergo environmental impact assessment, officials from the authority have rubbed shoulders with individuals who own land where the soil is extracted.

“All government bodies that are directly involved in this matter are needed to deal with the problem. The roads department should also help Nema oversee the enforcement of good sand mining practices as excavation has damaged roads. Kenya Power which has been a major casualty should also come on board. The practice has contributed to great losses to the company as their electricity poles fall due to weak foundations,” he said. Mr Nyandoro.

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