THREAT TO MARINE LIFE

Kwale opposed to KPA harvesting of sand at Diani

The sand will be used in the expansion of Mombasa's second container terminal

In Summary

• Sand harvesting will have a devastating effect on marine life, says the county government

• It will lead to the death of the coral reef and the destruction of Diani beaches where dozens of resorts have been built

Sand harvesting at river Thwake in Mwala district /FILE
Sand harvesting at river Thwake in Mwala district /FILE

The Kwale county government is opposed to sand harvesting off Diani Beach as "it will have a devastating effect on marine life".

“We have written to Nema and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to stop the harvesting of sand,” Land executive Saumu Beja said.

The sand is being harvested at Waa and Tiwi for use in the construction of the second phase of, and expansion of Mombasa's second container terminal at Kilindini Harbour.

The terminal is being built on 100 acres.

Beja said they were not consulted by KPA on the need to harvest sand at Diani.

He said that they were unaware that Sh16 million had been paid to fishermen in Matuga as compensation.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) chairman Harald Kampa said sand harvesting will result in the death of the coral reef and destruction of Diani beaches where dozens of resorts have been built.

Kampa warned that this will have a negative impact on the tourism industry.

"We need to have an intact ecosystem, otherwise tourists will not come just to relax on the beach without sampling the marine resources," he said, adding that failure by the KPA to consult the stakeholders is questionable.

"You are taking us for a ride because what you have presented here is what you have done within the port of Mombasa but I have not heard any single word on what you have done in the county," he said. 

Tiwi fisherman Rashid Mwadume cited environmental degradation and loss of livelihood to fishing communities as the reasons they were opposed to sand harvesting.

Rashid said this was the second time sea sand was being harvested, leaving the fishing communities jobless.

"Fishing is no longer lucrative since the dredging and harvesting of sea sand started. It has caused a lot of damage especially to the coral reef and death of fish," he said.

Edited by f. mwaniki