Athi River Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Charles Wambugu, alongside National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) officials, have cautioned Mavoko residents of Machakos County, against illicit mining and quarrying activities.
While addressing the media in his office in Athi River, Wambugu said that several incidents of unlawful mining and quarrying have been reported by residents of Mavoko Sub-County, mainly from Mlolongo and Lukenya.
“We have been receiving complaints from locals about the continued illegal mining and quarrying activities, particularly from Mlolongo, Lukenya and around Kamulu area,” Wambugu said.
Wambugu pointed out that they have prioritized profiling of all investors involved in mining and quarrying activities, to determine those who are legally licensed to conduct the activities.
“We discussed the issue with the NEMA team in Machakos, including the Director, so we will be conducting a rapid inspection and profiling of all investors involved in mining, ballasting, quarrying, and cutting stones for house construction, to identify those who are licensed,” said Wambugu.
The DCC added that the inspection team will consist of authorities from his Department as well as the NEMA, which will comprise the secretariat and other government agencies.
“Once we get a complete list of the persons involved, we will form an Agency team led by myself, the NEMA County Director’s committee, will constitute the secretariat and other government agencies,” Wambugu stated.
He noted that everyone involved in mining and quarrying activities, should follow the licensing law requirements, including public participation, as well as conduct an annual audit as mandated by the NEMA act.
“As you are aware, the law requires you to conduct public involvement through public participation meetings if you are to carry out such activities. We want to know who has the legal licenses to carry out those activities and determine whether they conduct an annual audit, as required by the NEMA Act,” Wambugu stated.
“We aim to address the issue of ballasting and identify those who engage in the manufacturing of machine that cut stones for construction, without the Mining Department’s licenses,” Wambugu added.
Wambugu went on to say that they will focus on people who abuse the licenses and also those who engage in ballasting activities at odd hours.
“We also want to identify people who are abusing licenses by not following the requirements. We want to make certain that the ballasting activities are carried out at the appropriate time, to avoid noise pollution and interference at night,” said Wambugu.
He affirmed that those who will not be compliant will face the law and may be forced to close the quarries, as he urged the public to stay calm as authorities look into the matter.
By Conceptah Isanya