The security team in Kuria West Sub-County of Migori County has stopped with immediate effect mining of gold on government land within and around Kehancha town.
In a terse statement released Tuesday by the chairman of the area security committee Andrew Mwiti, no person of whatever status would ever again be allowed to carry out gold extraction on government designated land within the area.
Mwiti who is also the area Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) said that the committee that draws its membership from his office, the police, the national environment management authority (NEMA), mining office and other relevant civil bodies agreed to put a halt to gold extracting activities within the area to curb environmental degradation and save lives of the residents.
The chairman noted that what has been going on in the area for a couple of years now has been a total destruction of the environment especially on land designated for government offices and other public land.
“The environment around government offices in Kehancha, including mine, has not been favourable for workers because of the continuous deafening noises coming from these gold mines,” explained Mwiti, warning that this would not be allowed to continue anymore.
The committee noted that the activities of extracting gold near government offices have led to the destruction of institutions’ infrastructures that include roads and, walls and floors of government offices that have developed huge multiple cracks.
Mining points have also seen several lives lost in the past when the water-logged shafts collapsed burying miners inside them.
The ban however attracted the wrath of residents many of who said it will affect their normal life seriously if they heeded to it.
Mr. Chacha Mogosi who we interviewed vowed to continue with his job even if the state will be hard on diggers by whatever means.
“This is the only place I eke my living and anybody telling me to leave this work is like telling me to surrender my life and that of my family to death,” said the 40 –year –old father of seven.
But environmentalists have in the recent months raised alarm over the wanton destruction of farms, residential and grazing lands within the region as a result of the intensive gold mining happening there
They have also expressed concern about the unchecked pollution of rivers in the entire region by the mushrooming gold mining firms.
This, they said, threatened the survival of human life, livestock and plants species, especially within Kehancha town suburbs and the entire region.
“The entire lands are home to human beings and key to survival of our livestock and plant species. If not well protected, then the affected areas are likely to become serious food deficit points and a death trap to mankind, animals and plant species,” said Conserve Migori Lobby (CML) group official, Joseph Chacha.