Illegal sand miners warned

Illegal sand mining is continuing without environmental clearance in the northern regions.

12 August 2020 | Environment

KENYA KAMBOWE

RUNDU



The environment ministry has condemned sand miners who start operations without obtaining environmental clearance certificates.

They simply pay traditional authorities, who are grateful for the extra income, but this leads to uncontrolled mining leaving behind dangerous sand pits which can kill children and livestock.

The ministry's spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, says many sand miners in the northern regions think it is sufficient to obtain permission from traditional authorities.

Commercial sand miners in the two Kavango regions, for example, are still excavating sand without environmental clearance.



The law

“The law requires that even if you get authority from the traditional authority or the local authority, you should also get an environmental clearance certificate and you should undertake an environmental impact assessment,” Muyunda explains.

“If you undertake such an activity without an environmental certificate and impact assessment, it is illegal.”

Consulting the community forms part of the environmental impact assessment process.



Awareness needed

Muyunda acknowledges that much remains to be done to create awareness about the legal requirements for sand mining.

He says commercial sand mining is a relatively recent development and the ministry was still in the process of informing the public on the procedures to be followed.

“I think in terms of the Environmental Management Act we have not done enough and I think that is why we are not strictly enforcing the regulations yet,” Muyunda says.

“It is something that has emerged recently, so in terms of awareness that is something we are still working on. We have started already and we are doing it parallel with making sure of compliance as well as educating the people.”

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