COMPLIANCE MEETING

Chinese firm officials summoned over sand harvesting in Lake Victoria

Volumes and quantities of the sand harvested have not been confirmed yet.

In Summary

• Kenya Ports Authority, as the proponent of the proposed revitalisation of Kisumu port infrastructure, has also been invited to attend the meeting.

• The authority's letter is dated February 16.

Dredging at the Kisumu ports
Dredging at the Kisumu ports
Image: Faith Matete

The National Environmental Management Authority has summoned the officials of a Chinese firm over sand harvesting in Lake Victoria.

Director General Mamo Baro Mamo in a letter, directed Mango Tree Marine Limited to appear before the authority on Tuesday for a compliance meeting.

Kenya Ports Authority, as the proponent of the proposed revitalisation of Kisumu port infrastructure, has also been invited to attend the meeting.

The authority's letter is dated February 16.

It indicated that there have been complaints made about the wanton sand harvesting around Takawiri island and the presence of the Mango Tree Vessel in areas of Mfangano, Mbita and Rusinga.

According to the letter, volumes and quantities of the sand harvested have not been confirmed yet.

"Your operations in areas of Mbita, Takawiri island, Rusinga Island and Mfangano island are in contravention of the conditions of the Nema license no NEMA/EIA/PSL /9179 and the certificate of variation no NEMA/EIA/VC/1513," Mamo said in the letter.

He said that as agents and contractors, they have the responsibility to ensure all activities and operations meet statutory requirements and are within the rule of law.

He directed the firm to communicate to the authority within seven days from the date the letter was issued on the extent of illegal operations they have undertaken in Takawiri, Mfangano, Rusinga island and Mbita.

Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang' has also asked Environment CS Keriako Tobiko to explain why a dredger from Uganda harvested sand in Suba North.

Kajwang' has written to the Senate Committee on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources to summon Tobiko over the matter.

Kajwang’ wants the Environment committee chaired by his Nyandarua counterpart Paul Mwangi to summon Tobiko within seven days to shed light on the mission of the vessel in the lake.

He said the dredger interfered with the ecosystem around the islands.

“Nema and the Homa Bay government are investigating how the vessel operators arrived at Takawiri Island. Who authorised it to harvest sand without residents' awareness?” the letter reads.