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 Environmental degradation characterized by uncontrolled sand harvesting has led to the collapse of several rivers in Kitui and has continued to pose major threats to the ecosystem of the county.
Despite the county government of Kitui having banned sand harvesting, the illegal business is still going on even without being authorized by the county government.
Seasonal Rivers like Nguutani in Mwingi West constituency and River Kivou in Mwingi central subcounty, are now in a bad state due to unrestrained and illegal sand harvesting which has destroyed the river beds, collapsed river banks and dried water points.
The two rivers are just a sample of what is happening in several parts of Kitui and now residents are calling upon the County government to act with speed and curb the on-going business and help safe the ecosystem.
According to Nguutani Ward MCA Stephen Katana, several rivers in Mwingi west have been invaded by illegal sand harvesters, who have destroyed the rivers to an extent of leaving behind deep ditches which are dangerous for the people living nearby.
“It’s annoying how sand harvesting has continued to ruin our rivers in Kitui, despite the county government having passed a regulation banning it. It’s dangerous even for our children to fetch water in the rivers as the harvesters are leaving behind huge trenches which can easily drown children” Exclaimed Katana
Katana said that the county government has burned sand harvesting in Kitui and nobody should be given permit to harvest sand.
He urged parents to restrain their children from playing along river banks especially during the on-going rainy season.
Speaking on the issue Julius Muu OCPD migwani , said that Kitui governor Charity Ngilu had issued an order banning sand harvested in all rivers in Kitui County.
Muu warned Migwani residents that anyone caught transacting the illegal business will be arrested and arraigned in court.
“Governor Ngilu has issued us with order not to allow sand harvesting in any river in our area, owing to this anyone caught conducting the illegal business will be arrested and charged, so the residents must be cautious,” Said Mr. Muu.
Kioko Kithendu, a resident of Kivou ward says that sand harvesting has hazardously affected  their nearby Kivou River as the merciless sand harvesters have excavated almost all the sand in the river making it hard for the seasonal river to hold water for long.
Kithendu called upon the county government of Kitui to put strict measures which will put an end to the illegal Business.
“We hear that the county government of Kitui banned sand harvesting, proper measures should be put in place to totally end the business as it has continued to ruin our rivers,” Said Kithendu
Massive sand harvesting in Kitui Rivers has largely contributed to perennial water shortages in the county, as sand harvesting has continued to destroy water catchment areas and promoted soil erosion along river banks.

A Lorry Illegally fetching sand at Kivou River at Mwingi

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