SGR Project Poses Marine Habitat Loss

A marine expert has said the components of sea sand harvesting have not been dealt with transparently in the standard gauge railway project.

Dr David Obura conducted an independent review of the Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed offshore sea sand harvesting from off Likoni to North of Tiwi in South Coast.

The sand harvest is part of the construction of the Port Reitz cargo terminal of the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR project.

Obura based his findings on the environmental and social impact the project would cause to the proposed area.

Some leaders and environment experts have faulted the project, including Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya.

In the report dated June 5, Obura says: “There are few alternatives to the project, but how it is undertaken is of critical importance.”

He said the EIA quality does not support interventions to minimise environmental impacts.

Nema issued the licence on May 22 for the project estimated to cost Sh35 million on condition that sand harvesting works will not interfere with marine parks, natural monuments, tourist areas, sea grass habitats and other ecological sensitive areas.

The World Wide Fund for Nature Kwale coordinator, Elias Kimaru, said the site proposed for harvesting sea sand borders two marine protected areas — Mombasa and Diani.

“There is a high likelihood neighbouring critical habitats will be irreparably impacted,” Kimaru said.