Police arrest drivers in Voi for transporting sand

Residents of Mbulia and Paranga complained that dozens of trucks, belonging to a local businessman, harvest tonnes of sand from their farms and local rivers.  

By Lucy Mkanyika

Police in Voi have arrested three drivers and impounded their trucks for transporting sand.

The police, and Taita Taveta County officials, said the trucks had continued to transport sand even after Governor Granton Samboja banned sand harvesting in the region.

The governor said that sand harvesting would resume after putting in place policies proper management policies in the industry.

Voi OCPD Joseph Chesire said the drivers were arrested after officers from the county environment department and National Environment Management Authority (Nema) complained that sand harvesting was going despite the ban.

DOZENS OF TRUCKS

However, it was not clear whether the owner of the trucks, who has been operating without a license from the relevant authorities, would also be arrested.

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Residents of Mbulia and Paranga complained that dozens of trucks, belonging to a local businessman, harvest tonnes of sand from their farms and local rivers.

Mr Chris Mwashimba, a Mbulia resident, said the miners harvested sand at night.

“Our village is targeted because it is in a remote area and many of us do not know that this trade (sand harvesting) is illegal,” he said.

FEEDER ROADS

Mr Mwashimba, who said the trucks had also destroyed their feeder roads, urged the government to intervene.

On Wednesday, Mbulia residents intercepted and detained a lorry at a seasonal river but later released it after the lorry’s owner agreed to repair the dilapidated road.

County Nema official Ms Edith Kalo said the authority would conduct an environmental impact assessment survey before granting permission to mine sand.

She said, Nema would continue to arrest sand miners as the body strives to conserve the environment.

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