County Enacts Bylaw To Safeguard Environment And Regulate Sand Harvesting

Kitui Governor Dr. Julius Malombe assented to the Kitui County River Basins Sand Utilization and Conservation Bill 2023, which will curb the destruction of river basins and the environment due to unregulated sand harvesting.

Speaking during the ceremony in his office in Kitui town, Malombe regretted the adverse consequences of sand harvesting include the wanton destruction of the environment and local seasonal rivers.

Some of the adverse consequences caused by the massive destruction of the environment due to illegal sand harvesting, the governor mentioned include receding water tables, drying up of rivers, unstable river banks, and unchecked floods, leading to destruction of property, farmlands, crops and, in some cases, the loss of human life and breakdown of societal norms.

‘Among the severely affected rivers are Kivou, Tiva, Nzeeu, Mutendea, Mwitasyano, Tyaa, Nguutani, Enziu, and Mwania,’ he noted.

He observed that owing to the proximity of the county to big cities, urban centers, mushrooming settleme
nts, the high quality of the county sand, and good road network connectivity, Kitui County has in the recent past experienced an ever-increasing demand for her naturally occurring sand.

The governor emphasized that the assent of the bill aligns with constitutional requirements, citing Articles 69 and 70, which outline individual and collective contributions and roles in environmental conservation.

‘The absence of a legislative framework had led to resource-based conflicts, environmental destruction, unequal benefit sharing, socio-economic disruptions, and increased poverty,’ the Kitui County government boss added.

The newly enacted law, the governor stated, addresses these challenges and stands as a testament to his commitment outlined in his manifesto to uphold environmental protection and conservation.

Speaking during the occasion, Kitui Central Sub County Commissioner (DCC) Dorcus Rono welcomed the new Bill and promised that national government, through the office of the County Commissioner, will suppo
rt and cooperate with the county government in enforcing the new Act to the letter.

The DCC lamented the wanton destruction due to unregulated sand harvesting at local seasonal rivers, the surrounding environment and also regretted the high cost being incurred by both governments in mitigating the destruction caused by unregulated sand harvesting in the county.

‘County Commissioner’s office will work jointly with the county government to ensure the new regulations as stipulated in the Conservation Bill 2023 and meant to address massive destruction of our environment are adhered to,’ madam Rono said.

Commending the collaborative efforts behind the legislation, County Assembly Speaker Kinengo Katisya termed the law a product of the joint endeavors of the people of Kitui, the County Assembly, and the executive.

He applauded the Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) for prioritizing the interests of the people and contributing to the realization of a sustainable and environmentally conscious Kitui County.

e Kitui County River Basins Sand Utilization and Conservation Bill 2023 signals a significant step forward in ensuring the responsible use of natural resources, protecting the delicate balance of ecosystems, and promoting the well-being of Kitui residents.

Source: Kenya News Agency