Looming Crisis:Illegal Sand Harvesting Leading To Dry Rivers In Taita Taveta

Illegal Sand havesting in Taita Taveta County is strecting nature to it’s limits.The youths have been harvesting sand as their only source of income,according to a youthful trio, Peter Mwakera,John maghua and Samson Kitawi.”We have been harvesting sand from local rivers since we were young.We grew into it and after secondary school we dived deeper into the trade as our only source of income.”Mwakera said.Despite the adverse effect of there actions on the environment,the trio has no plans of venturing into different economic activity their future hangs in balance as the rivers are slowly drying up during this dry season.

While the county has elaborate natural resources management and environmental protection laws,illegal Sand harvesting is rampant.According to Abraham Juma who is the Chairperson of the Environment,Natural resources,forestry and mining committee at the county assembly of Taita Taveta said that despite having comprehensive laws to protect natural resources,sand havesting menace is beyond control.”The perpetrators have come up with dirthy tactics to defeat our regulations and security.At midnight,illegal Sand harvesters descend on river banks and scoop the sand,shoveling it into trucks with running engines and by 5am they are gone.”said Juma.

To avert the looming environmental crisis,the county and National government environmental management Authority have partnered to educate the residents on the need for conservation of sand in river banks.The awareness campaign focuses on the impact of illegal Sand harvesting on river banks and to encourage residents to abide by the regulations set by the county’s environmental protection and natural resource management team.

Many rivers in Taita Taveta County are now dry due to the dry season that is being experienced in the area.This has lead to the water shortage for both human and domestic use.Stoping the illegal Sand harvesting will help to avoid such a crisis in the coming days.

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