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Six arrested in crackdown on illegal sand harvesting

Illegal sand harvesting pits near a homestead in Wang’chieng’ location, Homa Bay County. [James Omoro, Standard]

The government has intensified its crackdown on illegal sand harvesting in Homa Bay County.

Rachuonyo North Deputy County Commissioner Aaron Koross and Homa Bay County Director of the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) Josiah Nyandoro arrested six suspects during the crackdown.

Four of the suspects were arrested near Kendu Bay town while two others were apprehended while harvesting sand along Gendia-Kadongo road in Rachuonyo North sub-county.

The suspects are being held at Kendu Bay Police Station before being charged in court.

The arrests came after government officials inspected sand harvesting sites to assess the level of damage caused.

Mr Nyandoro said they are making joint efforts to fight illegal sand harvesting which has led to serious environmental pollution in the area.

Environment laws require that mining sites be subjected to an environmental impact assessment before any work begins.

“Any mining should be subjected to Environmental Impact Assessment before any work begins. But many people here ignore the rule,” Nyandoro said.

He urged local residents to undertake economic activities which are legally acceptable.                                                             

He called on the county government to work with the agency in controlling practices that destroy the environment.