RESIDENTS CALL FOR INTERVENTIONS ON ILLEGAL SAND MINING

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RESIDENTS CALL FOR INTERVENTIONS ON ILLEGAL SAND MINING
RESIDENTS CALL FOR INTERVENTIONS ON ILLEGAL SAND MINING

Africa-Press – Botswana. Some residents of Shashe ward in Maun have expressed displeasure about illegal sand mining in the Shashe channel that forms part of Thamalakane River.

They said they had over the years observed worrisome harvesting of sand from rivers which had a negative impact on the environment.

The residents aired their complaints in a random interview, noting that the river channel had been turned into a quarry looking at the amount of sand extracted from the area.

They pleaded with relevant authorities to come to their aid as illegal miners continued to harvest sand, causing environmental hazard and degrading the rivers.

“This situation has been like this for years and the illegal miners are not environmentally sensitive as they dig into our river haphazardly, spoiling the beauty of the resource. It seems many people have resorted to trading in sand to earn a living,” said Mr Lekonne Masoko, area councillor.

He expressed concern that illegal sand mining was rife in the area, placing an enormous pressure on the environment.

Illegal miners, he said had destroyed the base of Shashe water channel as they used small trucks hauling loads of sand on a daily basis, thereby creating artificial lagoons.

Such lagoons, he said had the potential to divert the natural flows into the river. Mr Masoko also pointed out that to rehabilitate the land could cost government millions hence he urged relevant authorities to come up with interventions to stop the practice.

Illegal sand mining, he said was not only threatening the life of the rivers, but it posed a hazard to villagers and livestock.

Sadly, on numerous occasions, he said their efforts to engage stakeholders including the police and officials from the Department of Environmental Protection to embark on a joint operation around the channel, did not bear fruits.

When patrolling the area as individuals, the councillor said they spotted some trucks carrying loads of sand from the river.

Mr Masoko said they had requested officials to embark on an investigation exercise of all brick laying businesses to establish where they sourced sand from with a view to arrest the situation.

Another resident of Shashe ward, Ms Keledi Thebeetsile concurred that they desperately needed an intervention as their area had been turned into a haven of illegal sand mining, noting that the perpetrators were also mining sand in the ploughing fields along the river banks.

“This activity is giving us sleepless nights because we cannot even go to our farms to cultivate our land for fear of the illegal miners,” she added.

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