By Joyce Mutinda

Kenya: Environmental conservation is undoubtedly a hot topic, especially in an age where concerns about global warming and carbon footprint continue to dominate public discourse.

The real estate and construction industries benefit a lot from natural resources, and might as a result come under the spotlight over such concerns as the management and rehabilitation of quarries.

Stories of quarries left gaping, and serving as deathtraps of harbingers of ill health to local communities abound. 

The people who reap from this industry contribute a lot to the national economy and the booming real estate sector. Take the case of Lamu where stonemasons nicknamed “Bushmen” from Kisii, have carried their forefathers’ business since 1970s.

Despite them contributing to Kenya’s economy in the building industry and earning a living to sustain their livelihoods and those of their dependents — is the long time business of quarry mining not endangering the environment on the island with regard to our Constitution?

Responsibility

It is simply the responsibility of every Kenyan to conserve our environment.  Sessional Paper No.3 of 2009 on National Land Policy on restoration and conservation of land quality states: “To restore the environmental integrity of land and facilitate sustainable management of land based resources, the Government shall: Establish institutional mechanisms for conservation of quality of land for environmental conservation purpose.”

Have quarries been rehabilitated and managed properly for other appropriate re-use?

The question of rehabilitation of quarries has been there for a while, and as Bamburi Cement showed with Haller Park — a former quarry that is today a renowned animal sanctuary — it is quite possible.

The same sessional paper defines land reclamation as “the process of extending or improving land to support a specified end use. It is useful in dealing with land that has been affected by the extraction and processing of non-renewable resources, degraded environments, swampy and seasonally submerged wetlands, and the shoreline of the Sea or Ocean.”

Quarry mining in both urban and rural areas is a lot of times not done properly, leaving the quarries open and becoming endangering zones.

And the relevant government institutions should put stern measures to curb the menace. This also involves, public, community and private land for proper use and management of land and natural resources.

 — The writer is a lands rights activist

Real Estate
Premium Nairobi: The city of haves and have-nots stuck in colonial times
Real Estate
Lapfund to invest Sh10b in Nakuru mall
Real Estate
The green building principles aiming to get real estate to net zero
Real Estate
All eyes on new Shelter Afrique boss amid exits