• MCAs favour legal and gainful organized sand mining.
• Ngilu banned sand harvesting early last year.
The Kitui assembly wants sand harvesting ban lifted in favour of a regulatory policy framework.
The assembly has adopted a report recommending setting up a new policy framework to regulate sand harvesting business to make it gainful, organised and more structured as opposed to the ban.
On January 16 last year, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and county commissioner Boaz Cherutich announced the sand harvesting and transportation ban. They said the activity had caused serious environmental degradation and diminished water sources.
A statement from the Kitui assembly communication desk on Tuesday said the assembly wants sand harvesting to be regulated to benefit residents.
“The county assembly of Kitui unanimously asked the department environment and natural resources to set up a new policy framework to regulate sand harvesting instead of banning the trade,” the release said.
Kitui Assembly Committee on the Environment chairman Jacob Kavolonza said, “We don’t have any regulation governing sand harvesting, and we need one swiftly since this will lead to wealth creation for our people.”
He was presenting a report on his committee recommendations on a recent benchmarking trip to Makueni and Kajiado counties on sand harvesting and climate change.
“It’s important for Kitui to come up with a legal framework to protect the environment and natural resources and to create awareness on environmental conservation,” Kavolonza said.
Kitui, he said, has witnessed years of uncontrolled and illegal sand mining in riverbeds. “We do not need to ban sand harvesting but regulate it. Makueni have very clear guidelines on scooping and harvesting of sand and also have designated collection points,” Kyuso MCA Stephen Musili said.
“With a policy in place, youth groups can now be economically empowered since riverbeds are strewn across our county,” Kanyangi MCA Andrew Lusa said.
Kisasi MCA Emeritus Musya, said “Sand is a renewable resource and should be harnessed for the benefit of our residents. We only need clear regulations for sustainable development.”