PROTECTING THE OCEAN

Stakeholders push counties to adopt beach management laws

A bill has been drafted and will be presented to relevant authorities

In Summary

• Counties are yet to introduce legislation to regulate their shore zones since the onset of devolution in 2013.

• Dredging of sand and dumping of waste or littering are some of the proposed prohibited activities.

South Coast beach in Kwale county
South Coast beach in Kwale county
Image: FILE

Tourism stakeholders are working with three coast counties in efforts to have them adopt legislation to regulate beach activities.

While beach management falls under the devolved governments, coast counties are yet to introduce legislation to regulate their shore zones since the onset of devolution in 2013.

Kenya Association of Hoteliers and Caterers Coast region executive officer says stakeholders have now drafted a beach management bill in partnership with the Kwale government.

“We have drafted a bill with the county government and it has gone through stakeholder participation from our end and we are finalising so it can be submitted to the county. If enacted, Kwale county will have a stand-alone beach management law to regulate and guide beach activities,” Sam Ikwaye told the Star.

The tourism official also revealed that similar engagements with the Mombasa and Kilifi county administrations are underway.

“The same initiative is also happening in Mombasa. We are working at getting to a retreat with the MCAs,” he said.

“In Kilifi we have worked together with the county in drafting the bill. So instead of the counties making a bill and throwing it at the stakeholders, we worked together through a working committee and what’s happening is the formal process of taking it to the executive before it is taken to the assembly and hopefully we can have an act this year,” Ikwaye added.

The Kwale County Beach Management Bill 2020 draft seen by The Star covers issues related to beach administration, planning and standards, beach public safety, beach infrastructure development and environmental management as well as regulation and enforcement provisions.

It proposes establishment of a beach management advisory council and beach management committees to be comprised of public and private sector players.

These will be responsible for the promotion and coordination of beach conservation and management activities, formulation of policy and legislative measures among others.

“The department shall in collaboration with and coordination with the relevant stakeholders and the national government shall adopt appropriate beach management standards, which shall be approved by the county executive committee and the county assembly,” the draft says on beach planning and standards.

In addition, dredging of sand and dumping of waste or littering are some of the proposed prohibited activities.

Stakeholders have previously protested against Kenya Ports Authority’s sand dredging and dumping of dredged waste off the coast of Waa and Tiwi in Kwale county, citing destruction of marine habitat.

KPA sanctioned sand harvesting from the Indian Ocean where the sand was scooped to provide construction material for the development of its phase two port expansion project.

Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya termed the activity illegal, saying it was undertaken without following due process.

Ikwaye said if there was existing legislation, it would have been possible to engage KPA before they started harvesting sand from the ocean.

The draft bill also seeks to introduce controls on infrastructure development activities on areas adjacent to shorelines. Proposed physical development plans on these areas will have to be approved by relevant beach management committees.