Mandera quarry miners cautioned against environment degradation

Some of the abandoned quarry mines in Mandera County. [File, Standard]

Quarry owners in Mandera have been put on notice for causing environmental degradation threatening the lives of both human and livestock.

During a procession meant to restore cleanliness in line with World Environmental Day, Mandera East deputy county commissioner William Kipchirchir said many farmers have suffered undue pain as livestock fall in some of the quarry mines that are left unfilled.

 "I believe many animals have fallen and died in the pits left unfilled by the quarry operatives especially this year that we have increased quarrying activities as the demand for the cut stones from the quarry rises." Said Kipchirchir.

Kipchirchir said the quarry miners must be responsible enough to ensure while they earn a living, livelihoods are not put at risk.

“All we want them to do is be responsible enough to fill the quarry mines that are no longer in use,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by the County Executive Committee Member for water Mohamed Ali who said if the quarry miners do not heed to the calls to protect the environment, his department will not hesitate to take action.

"We will not fall for the trap of out of court settlement for anyone endangering our lives and degrading the environment as those suspected will be taken to the court of law to face trial,” he said.

NEMA’s director Mandera Branch Fatuma Mohamed said the authority has noted an increase in illegal quarry activities in the area and that will further completely damage the environment if intervention measures are not taken.

"The continual development of quarries in the area for the past ten years has taken a grave toll on our community and our quality of life. We cannot stand by and let the quarry activities damage the environment we rely on,” said Fatuma.

For the past decade there has been growing public dissatisfaction in the manner in which quarry activities in the county are being undertaken.

Some residents fear if the quarry activities are not controlled, the miners are likely to invade more lands rendering them homeless.

According to them, with the increase in human population and economic development, immense pressure on natural resources such as hard rock, laterite, sand and soil in the past decades has intensified.

In Neboi village located within Mandera East lies the biggest quarry within the county as all the hills surrounding the locality have been grounded.

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