Consultative workshop on illegal sand mining to take place in Ongwediva
In an effort to curb illegal sand mining in the north, a consultative workshop will be held this week at Bennie’s Park in Ongwediva, according to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda.
The workshop will take place and discuss the interests, roles, needs and values of all parties involved in allocating land for sand mining, Muyunda said.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon Pohamba Shifeta, will officiate at the workshop.
According to Muyunda unlicensed and illegal sand mining has become a serious concern for the ministry as the activities are contributing to the serious destruction of the environment as well as threatening the livelihood of nearby residents, livestock and wildlife.
“As Namibia seeks to achieve is developmental goals especially in the infrastructure development sector, building sand and gravel for roads have become valuable and essential resources in the construction sector,” he said.
Muyunda said sand is extracted on a daily basis to meet the demand of the sector and mostly in an uncoordinated manner and the pits created by sand mining are not rehabilitated.
For the ministry to execute its mandate to protect the environment and achieve sustainable development, all projects deemed to have an adverse impact on the environment require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), as per the country’s Environmental Management Act.
“Sand mining is one of such activities that require an EIA before it can be undertaken. Unfortunately, this legal requirement seems not to be understood by some communities in our country,” he said.
The ministry has since issued compliance orders to sand miners who do not abide by the requirements of the Environmental Management Act and who operate without the environmental clearance certificates.