Government bans quarry activities in parts of Maai Mahiu

One of the quarries in Maai Mahiu. 

One of the quarries in Maai Mahiu. Government has banned quarrying activities in the area after locals raised concern over environmental hazards.

Photo credit: Macharia Mwangi | Nation Media Group

The government has banned quarrying activities in some parts of Maai Mahiu in Nakuru county after locals raised concern over environmental hazards.

Speaking in his office, Naivasha deputy county commissioner, Kisilu Mutua said some of the investors undertaking quarrying activities were clearly flouting National Environment Management Authority (Nema) regulations.

He warned those involved that they will not be allowed to continue with their mining activities unless they adhere to the set-out rules, including wet crushing of stones.

“We are very firm on this, some business operators have threatened to relocate from the area owing to whirling dust and other environmental hazards,” said the administrator.

Mr Mutua, who toured the area on Thursday, particularly took issue with two miners whom he accused of contravening the regulations “with impunity.”

He promised to convene a meeting involving all 17 miners in the coming weeks to deliberate on issues affecting those residing within the vicinity of quarrying areas.

Some of the locals had raised concerns over the swirling dust, open quarrying areas and lack of adherence to Nema regulations by those licensed to operate in Maai Mahiu.

Quarrying has also damaged the beautiful landscape, with some disposing of waste materials on private farms and other unauthorized places.

“These are some of the things we want addressed before those flouting regulations are permitted back to work,” added Mr Mutua.

The Naivasha administrator admitted that some of the miners are yet to fence off the quarrying areas, with man-made impact on the landscape being monumental.

Quarrying activities in Maai Mahiu is a lucrative venture, raking in millions of shillings, with the administrator saying some “overzealous” investors operate in total disregard of the law.

Sand harvesting is another multi-million undertaking that has led to the destruction of vegetation, reduction of fertile land and reduced productivity.