Kitui gets new law to regulate sand harvesting

Kitui governor Julius Malombe on Friday assented to a sand Bill, paving the way for a county-specific law that will regulate harvesting activities in the County.

Governor Malombe said the legislation seeks to bring order to the sand value chain which had in the past been invaded by cartels.

The governor said that the law will seek to protect rivers and conserve the environment, something that was not a consideration for the sand harvesters in the past.

"The law will address the harvesting and sale of sand within the county by creating a regulatory framework of how sand shall be harvested and sold," Malombe said.

"In the past, there was no existing county legislation to regulate sand utilization and conservation of rivers thereby creating a thriving opportunity for cartels," added the governor.

Malombe was speaking shortly after assenting to the law known as Kitui County River Basin's Sand Utilization and Conservation Law.

The sand law was a collaborative effort between the County Executive and the County Assembly.

It comes at a time when there is a clamor to protect the county's rivers and the environment in the wake of climate change.

The law also creates an opportunity for County youths to earn a decent living from the sand value chain while at the same time creating a revenue base for the County.

One of the highlights of the law is that trucks will no longer be allowed to go to the rivers, as was the case before.

They will be ferrying sand from designated sand aggregation yards.

Youths who load sand at the rivers will have jobs in two fold; at the rivers and at the sand aggregation centres.

County Assembly Speaker Kevin Kinengo described the new law as progressive and urged the County residents to respect the new law.