Windhoek introduces sand mining policy

28 Jul 2017 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 28 JUL (NAMPA) – The City of Windhoek on Thursday approved a policy to regulate sand and gravel extraction in the municipality area, which is currently done in an uncontrolled fashion.
The approved policy is expected to provide a coordinated and harmonised approach in controlling sand and gravel extraction within the city.
Briefing the media on Friday, the City of Windhoek’s Public Relations Officer Lydia Amutenya said, the municipality has the responsibility to ensure that natural resources found within its jurisdiction are managed and used sustainably.
Amutenya explained that sand mining, which provides sand for construction, is part of the services that the municipality provides through the Local Authority Act.
“Rapid development in recent years has resulted in mushrooming of quarrying and river sand mining activities,” said Amutenya.
She said although sand and gravel mining have crosscutting implications on the socio-economic development of the country, it is being done in an uncontrolled manner, without a consistent regulatory framework.
The most popular spots for sand mining are the riverbeds where underground water runs, and forms part of the City’s water supply system, especially during drought.
“We do not allow removal of sand from those areas as the moment people remove sand, they are removing the aquifer, which is the body that carries [underground] water, hence the need for the policy.”
Amutenya further emphasised that the policy will outline key elements such as policy objectives, application requirements, enforcement and general principles for sand mining.
It will also provide for appropriate site-selection, a rehabilitation plan and a monitoring mechanism.
“Council, therefore, recommends that the Sand Mining Policy towards sustainable sand mining be converted in a regulation in terms of Section 94 of the Local Authority Act of 1992,” said Amutenya.
The policy will be available on the City’s website as from next week and the public is urged to acquaint themselves with its content.