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EPA warns against sand mining

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EPA warns against sand mining

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The aforementioned communities have been involved in sand mining for over fifty years, Morlai Conteh, Headman for the Hamilton community confirmed.

As a result of sand mining, over three acres of land has been consumed by sea water, a resident from Sugar lamented. Currently, the community is being encroached by the sea water as some houses will collapse in a no distance future. It is on this backdrop that the Environment Protection Agency decided to visit the communities to tell them that there are alternative means of livelihood, rather than sand mining.

 Explaining the mandates of EPA to residents of Sugar Town (Sugar Land) and the Hamilton communities, Josephine Kamara, the communications officer of the EPA said the EPA was established by an act of parliament to look into environment and its related issues. Josephine informed the people that they are aware that people are actively involved into sand mining and they are doing it as a source of their livelihood but she admonished them to look at the negative impact of the trade. Josephine said if the people should continue with the trade then the next generation will be in danger. She therefore advised them to look for alternative means of survival.

Environment Officer in the Environment Protection Agency, Emmanuel During said sand mining would increase sea level water which would eventually lead to the collapse of houses, the demise of countless people and properties. During therefore made a plea to the residents of the two communities to look out for an alternative means of livelihood.

Other speakers from the agency emphasized the negative effects of sand mining and other human activities like cutting down of trees, cooking with firewood among others.

The EPA brought along representatives from the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change and the Civil Right Coalition. Speaking to the people from the ABC perspective, Abu Bakarr Sidik Sesay, a senior communications officer said the people should change their negative mindsets and actions towards the environment. He called on the residents to take responsibility of their communities and the country as whole. He admonished the local authorities not to be part of any negotiations that will lead to sand mining.

To further make the locals to understand the concepts, EPA made use of those that speaks local languages. Three languages were used to disseminate the information-Themne, Limba and Soso.

Responding to EPA, the locals said they are ready to stop sand mining but government should provide them with alternative means of livelihood. They told EPA that they are ready to move from these areas but they called for another suitable place.

Alie Badara Kargbo from the Sugar land community said the community had earlier decided not to involve in any form of sand mining. Badara Kargbo however alleged that some unemployed youths are being manipulated to be involved sand mining, in that vein, he recommended that the military and the police need to be involved to protecting the beaches.

Kargbo also highlighted that the Hamilton is also suffering from external factors. One of the factors, Kargbo, referred to is the medical waste of the Emergency Hospital. He said medical waste which includes blood and other liquids are overflowing into the community and their children are coming in contact with it. He said they are very scared for a disease outbreak due to the overflow of liquids from the hospital.

Ibrahim Jalloh from the same community said youth involved in sand mining as a result of the unavailability of jobs. Jalloh said he had earlier tried to establish an entertainment center on the Hamilton but he was frustrated by what he described as ‘politics’.

Morlai Conteh, Headman of the Hamilton community said he had made tremendous efforts to minimize the rate of sand mining in the community. Morlai Conteh said as an alternative means, government should provide with his people, the platform for skills training, provide loans to women and called on the Ministry of Tourism to employ the youths to be cleaning the beaches. He however called on the youths to find alternatives means and not to depend on government only.

The people of Sugar Town and Hamilton Communities are looking forward to seeing alternatives means of livelihood provided by the appropriate authorities.

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