National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Busia County Director Mr Rop Koech has urged Bumitiru Gold miners to adhere to the stipulated laws governing mining.
Speaking at a meeting with the miners at the site, Koech noted that the miners were not following stipulated environmental protection and management act.
“As it is now, the site is not compliant, we have spoken to the proponent of the project to apply for licenses, specifically the environmental impact assessment license so that mines can be regulated,” he said.
He added that the miners at the site were using chemicals without personal protective equipment.
“Again they are exposed to high noise levels, so there is need to provide them with protective gear,” he added.
The director at the same time instructed the miners to visit the NEMA offices on Monday next week so that they can be guided on how to acquire the relevant licenses.
“I want to urge the residents to ensure that their safety comes first instead of focusing on monetary gains alone,” he said.
Koech advised the miners to protect themselves from chemicals and the noise to evade health problems.
Speaking at the same meeting, Busia Acting County Commissioner Kipchumba Ruto said there was need to protect and manage the environment.
Ruto stated that more than 2,000 people were engaged in the activity which is being carried out within an expansive area of more than 30 acres.
“So we have brought various relevant government departments like NEMA, public health, water department and the security team to look into issues affecting the miners,” he said.
He advised the miners to unite and form a company that should include land owners, laborers, machine owners and mining prospectors.
“We have agreed that they register as a mining company so that it can be legitimized by the government,” he said, adding that a committee has been formed to meet under the leadership of Butula Deputy County Commissioner so that the activity can be carried out in an orderly manner.
Busia County Public Health Officer Wilfred Magoba said that the place had no water and sanitation facilities.
Magoba thus urged the miners’ leadership to provide adequate sanitation facilities to prevent hygiene related diseases like cholera.
“We have also noted that the workers here are not protected against physical hazards like dust, vibrations and chemicals,” he said, adding that there was a need for them to acquire protective gears.
The activity that kicked off informally in 2021 has so far reported two cases of death of laborers at the site.
Residents present appealed to the Government to establish a police post in the area with a view to beef up security.
By Salome Alwanda