Alarming rate of sand mining

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Sand mining in the recent past has become a hot issue in The Gambia. The activity in the recent past resulted in violent confrontation between companies issued with licences and communities affected. In as much as government has right over all land in a country the communities also reserve the rights to stop any illegal activities that could have a negative impact therein.

The most annoying part is that despite the lucrative nature associated with sand mining with construction companies and individual making millions from selling the sand, it is the poor communities that continue to suffer. This situation needs to be looked into. We all know that the practice is very destructive and communities share the brunt of the impact.

Secondly, this awful practice on our beach and dune sand is a direct cause of erosion along many shorelines. It is very damaging to the beach fauna and flora, ruinous to beach aesthetics, and frequently causes environmental damage to other coastal ecosystems associated with the beach such as wetlands.

The government of The Gambia should be aware of the plights of local communities when it comes to farming activities. It is our farmlands that these companies turn into mining site. It is a similar activity that led to the fatal shooting of innocent youths in Faraba Banta last year.

In this new democratic dispensation, communities would always stand up and protest against illegal activities that they believe would have a negative impact on their environment. 

Indiscriminate sand mining along the country’s coast has changed the natural flow of the water. Mining by large companies is also negatively impacting the agricultural performance of our communities and the prospects will be gloomy unless timely and prudent rescue measures are made.

We therefore call on the Geology Department and all other stakeholders to rethink before issuing any mining licence (s). This we believe would help a great deal in reducing problems associated with mining activities and save our communities from environmental threats posed by sand mining. 

“Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand, but we must build as if the sand were stone.”

Jorge Luis Borges