Home » Sand Mining in Nile River Banned by Local Leaders Amid Environmental Concerns

Sand Mining in Nile River Banned by Local Leaders Amid Environmental Concerns

Local authorities issue a ban on both legal and illegal sand extraction from the river after a clash between miners and fishermen.

by Motoni Olodun

Sand mining, the extraction of sand from rivers and lakes for construction and other purposes, has been a source of conflict and environmental degradation in the Nile basin. Sand mining can alter the river bed, affect the habitats of aquatic organisms, reduce water quality and quantity, and increase the risk of flooding and erosion.

According to a report by the Nile Basin Discourse, a network of civil society organizations in the region, sand mining has long been challenging to regulate in Uganda. In 2015, the government banned sand miners from leaving excavated pits open and required them to have a license or permit to mine sand. Sand mining permits require the holder to conduct environmental and social impact assessments and use more environmentally friendly technology.

However, these regulations have not been effectively enforced, and illegal sand mining activities continue to threaten the Nile and its communities. Last week, a fierce fight broke out between sand miners from Kamuli District and fishermen from Kayunga District over fishing and mining boundaries. The conflict resulted in the arrest of some sand miners found mining sand on the Kayunga side.

In response to this incident, local leaders from both districts held a meeting at Bugondha Primary School in Mbulamuti Sub-County in Kamuli District and issued a ban on sand mining in the Nile. The ban, which takes effect this week, applies to both legal and illegal sand miners. Anyone found mining sand in the river will be arrested and prosecuted, according to Moses Ddumba, the Kayunga Resident District Commissioner.

The meeting also resolved that only fishermen with licenses and recommended fishing gear should continue their activities. It also agreed that sand miners, whose source of livelihood had been halted, be trained in alternative sources of income such as cage fish farming. Ddumba also said that those involved in sand mining would be given special consideration in government poverty alleviation programs such as the Youth Livelihood Programme, Emyooga, and Parish Development Model.

The ban on sand mining in the Nile is a welcome step towards protecting the river and its resources from further degradation. However, more efforts are needed to ensure that the ban is implemented and monitored effectively and that alternative livelihoods are provided for the affected sand miners. The Nile is a vital source of water, food, energy, and biodiversity for millions of people across 11 countries, and its conservation is crucial for sustainable development in the region.

Source: Daily Monitor

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