Kenya: Mandera Governor Bans Quarrying, Urges Environment Conservation

12 December 2019

Residents of Mandera have been challenged to engage in conservation of the environment to reduce the harsh climatic condition in the county.

Speaking during Jamhuri Day celebrations in Mandera, Governor Ali Roba said uncontrolled commercial activities have caused degradation of the environment.

"All over the world today, environmental problems continue to attract enormous attention and public concern. Environmental issues must be fully incorporated in our development efforts and policy making," he said.

Mr Roba who has in the past defended quarrying activities in the county made a surprise announcement banning the activity.

"Serious negative environmental impacts come with uncontrolled quarrying activities. I take this opportunity to ban quarrying on our hills with immediate effect." He declared.

The county boss blamed continued quarrying for the county's pollution, land degradation, soil erosion, loss of bio-diversity, and destruction of water catchment areas.

QUARRYING BAN

"We must minimize the impacts of exploration and exploitation of stones, gravel and sand in our quarries," he said.

Mr Roba said it was no longer tenable to continue quarrying activities and the subsequent land degradation in the county.

"Our beautiful hills are all gone and replaced by dangerous craters left behind by miners. No hill should be touched for stone excavation from now," he warned.

He ordered the county minister in charge of environment to ensure mining only takes place in approved sites and for miners to have comprehensive land rehabilitation plans.

"Those who flout the rules will have their licenses revoked."

Governor Roba's announcement came as a surprise to many given his opposition to attempts by the national government and local security teams to either ban or control mining activities in the region.

Quarrying in the region has raised security concerns since suspected Al-Shabaab militants killed 36 miners at a site in 2014.

Mr Roba urged residents to take advantage of the rainy season to plants trees and counter the effects of climate change and impacts of floods and drought witnessed in the region.

Only three percent of Mandera is under forest cover according to Kenya Forestry Services.

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