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Sand harvesting awakens Budalang’i flooding fears

Henry Andanje and Christine Musa @PeopleDailyKe

Budalang’i constituency in Busia county, which has enjoyed respite from perennial flooding after the construction of dykes on River Nzoia is again facing the threat because of rampant sand harvesting, the National Environment Management (Nema) Authority (Nema) has said.

At a meeting with Busia Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi, local Nema committee official Isabella Masinde said sand harvesting has weakened dykes on River Nzoia. She warned that unless immediate action is taken to end sand harvesting, the dykes will collapse.

“Sand harvesting has weakened dykes on River Nzoia and might collapse any time if immediate action is not taken to stop the activity,” she said. Masinde said the committee received complaints from members of the public in the county about rampant sand harvesting in different sub-counties which has diversely affected the environment.

Meanwhile, Kajiado county government has set new guidelines to regulate the multi-million shilling sand harvesting business in the area. All lorries that ferry sand from the region are now required to register in saccos and business men required to register in societies.

The more than 500,000 loaders across the region must have medical cover to be allowed to operate and sand picking designations earmarked. According to the county Natural Resources task force chairman Daniel Osoi, the move came after hue and cry over massive irregularities and mismanagement in the lucrative business.

“Sand harvesting business has been ongoing without proper regulations witnessing a lot of mismanagement. Lorries pick sand from undesignated points causing a lot of degradation to the environment,’’ said Osoi. Overloading of lorries has been a major issue seeing that sand owners loses millions of shillings at the expense of unscrupulous business cartels and brokers.

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