3 January 2013

Liberia: Illicit Sand Mining At Night

Several complaints have reached this paper concerning sand mining by some unscrupulous individuals at night following a nationwide ban by the Government of Liberia. Speaking to several house owners near the beach in the Dwuazon Community in Lower Margibi County they disclosed that at night and occasionally in the day trucks could be seen loading sand illegally at various points of the beach.

Adolphus Wade from the Little Norway Community on the Sand Beach Rd. in Dwuazon Margibi County disclosed that his house and several other homes near the beach are in rather precarious positions for fear of their homes being undermined by illicit sand miners.

Mr. Wade told this paper that he left his unfinished home in July of 2012 and upon his return in December of the same year a drastic change had occurred on the beach that once had a lagoon outlining the beach. He continued that due to sand mining the lagoon has not only disappeared but the beach is reaching nearer to over 20 million United States dollars of property in the area.

He said that in the community where his house is located at all hours, trucks and locals can be seen hurling sand from the beach to various locations. Other locals in Margibi have disclosed similar stories to this paper.

Those living near the beach disclosed that the Liberian government is doing little or nothing to prevent beaches and beach properties from being destroyed by illicit sand miners.

A resident of the same community said that the Liberian government must go beyond making laws, but they must implement the laws they have created. Government can also encourage its citizens to deviate from cement blocks and use other building materials that are more environmentally friendly, such as Firestone bricks.

The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME) recently banned beach sand mining throughout the country and called on Liberians to move to river sand mining instead.

The Minister of LME, Patrick Sendolo in his pronouncement said that although government has introduced the new regulation it is aware that implementation of the regulation would be difficult.

Minister Sendolo said that it is a collective effort by relevant stakeholders, which includes the state and local officials to work mutually to curb the use of beach sand mining and make a transition, in the shortest possible time, to river sand mining.

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