The Kitui government has imposed sanctions on a Chinese firm for harvesting sand in seasonal rivers illegally.
Environment executive John Makau on Thursday said Synohydro corporation’s activities are destructive to the environment.
This followed a visit to the Tiva seasonal river on Wednesday.
Residents complained the firm, which is tarmacking the Kibwezi-Kitui road, had caused massive destruction through unlicensed sand mining.
“The road construction firm has broken the law and we had to ban them from sand mining, which is environmentally destructive. They are using huge earthmovers to load sand onto lorries, which amounts to mining of sand and not sand harvesting,” Makau said.
The county environment boss said loading of sand into lorries using shovels was the only activity allowed after obtaining a permit. “The Chinese road building contractor does not have the said permit from us,” Makau said.
He said residents are at risk of drowning because of pools formed after digging which have not been fenced off and are unguarded.
Makau also said sand harvesters have to get authorisation from Nema.
“The officials from the Chinese firm came to us a while back seeking approval to harvest sand and we gave them the conditions they were supposed to meet. They never came back until the time we learned they were illegally mining sand along River Tiva on Wednesday,” he said.
Chief officer Mutua Kimanga on Wednesday wrote to the Synohydro, banning it from carrying out unlicensed sand harvesting.