Sand mining in St. Kitts is unsustainable, an environmental challenge

Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer in the Ministry of Environment and Cooperatives.
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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Sand mining in St. Kitts is not sustainable and continues to be a significant challenge posing major environmental impacts because truckers are not adhering to the requirements and standards, according to Cheryl Jeffers, Conservation Officer in the Department of Environment.

Ms. Jeffers said outside of landslides and land slippage, the rate at which sand builds back up is a major issue, hence the reason they are appealing to the truckers to adhere to the rules.

“It takes years to build up but the rate of the removal of sand is much faster than it begins to build back up,” said Ms. Jeffers. “It is not sustainably managed at the moment, perhaps for the most part because the truckers are not adhering to the requirements and standards. There is a process in place, but we have had challenges with the truckers adhering to the policies that are in place.”

Ms. Jeffers said sand mining is by far one of the Ministry of Environment’s greatest environmental challenges. However, she said a task force has been implemented to look into the issue.

“It requires collaboration between the Department of Environment and Public Works to manage the control of sand mining,” said Ms. Jeffers. “There is a system in place but one of our challenges is that most of the truckers would mine sand outside of the regular hours.”

She noted that the department continues to play its part in bringing to light the many dangers sand mining causes.

“Outside of that [the task force], we have been putting documentation together to show, that while we have the sand now, in a few years or maybe even less, no more sand will be there for construction,” she explained. “We may have to consider importing sand and that would have some serious rippling effects, because it may be much more expensive and it boils back down to the average man.”

Ms. Jeffers appealed to people to contact the office at 466-8535 if they observe sand mining taking place. She said a case, cannot be taken to court if not enough proper evidence is not there to support the claims or situation.

“We are imploring all the communities and residents to help us to help each other,” concluded Ms. Jeffers. “If you recognize something is taking place within the environment that is not conducive towards sustainability, call us, and we will respond according.”

She said Nevis has banned sand mining for many years and reiterated that it continues to be a challenge for St. Kitts.

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