Ongoing dredging works at the Port of Mombasa being undertaken by KPA has brought with it massive economic losses in the tourism sector.
Ongoing dredging works at the Port of Mombasa being undertaken by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has brought with it massive economic losses in the tourism sector.
A social - economic impact study commissioned by the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC) has found that sea sand harvesting is being carried out on the South Coast of Kenya – at Waa and Tiwi in Kwale county – and the dredged materials from Kilindini Port area are dumped at Shelly Beach in Mombasa.
The dredging works are being done to facilitate the KPA expansion, which is on Phase II of the three phases planned. Phase I was completed in 2016.
The development entails dredging the port areas to expand the quay, berth and terminals.
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''Among KAHC’s key concerns in this project is that KPA did not undertake an environmental impact assessment for sand harvesting in Kwale County and instead used a previous environmental impact assessment conducted for a previous project in Mombasa County,'' KAHC Coast branch Executive Officer, Dr Sam Ikwaye said.
Ikwaye in the statement added that KPA also did not comprehensively and substantially engage public consultations and stakeholders prior to the commencement of the project.
He said that the fishing industryand boat owners have reported significant decline in revenues due to reduced demand from fisher folk and their relocation to areas such as Shimoni and Gazi, both in the South Coast.
''Their catch has reduced from an average of about 100kg per day before the project to less than 20kg per day,'' Ikwaye said.
Also some species that were previously available such as lobsters, octopus, row cord fish and sardines are no longer found in the region.
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The annual income for the fishing industry has reduced from over 147,000,000 shillings to less than 30,000 million shillings in Timbwani, Shelly and Tiwi beaches.
KAHC further reportsa that sand harvesting and dumping of dredged materials has also had a big impact on the tourism industry in the region.
The Association also reports that hotel bookings have dropped drastically and related service providers in the transport, restaurant and recreational industry are all reporting declines in business.
''If sand harvesting in Diani continues throughout all the remaining phases, the Diani Beach value and aesthetics will completelybe eroded and destroyed,'' added the official.
To arrest this problem, KAHC has engaged stakeholders to support new legislation to ensure support the drafted Kwale Beach Management Bill.
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In a meeting between KAHC and Kwale County Assembly members of the Planning, Tourism, Trade and Co-operatives Development led by chairman, Mr. Hassan Mwasipho, the Assembly members were sensitised on the findings of the social - economic impact study launched last November.