The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) is making strides towards addressing the issue of illegal sand mining in Magoye river in Southern province.
ZEMA Corporate Affairs Manager Friday Phiri said the agency is working with various partners such as the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation to deal with the issue of sand mining in Magoye area.
“We as ZEMA are working with partners such as the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation to come up with a comprehensive plan to address the issue,’’ he said
Mr. Phiri said ZEMA has noted that the issue of sand mining has become a livelihood venture for the local people in Magoye.
He said there is, therefore, need to find a balanced plan that will help local people transition from sand mining to other lucrative ventures.
“There is a process that has started which is called the protection and restoration which was developed by ZEMA and various cooperating partners. The idea is to come up with an alternative plan that will take away local people from sand mining so that the river remains protected,’’ he explained.
He added that the Magoye river has changed course due to sand mining activities in and around its basin, a situation that has resulted into the basin becoming shallow.
Mr. Phiri has since called on other environmental protection stakeholders such as the council to take part into coming up with a comprehensive plan that will help end the damage caused to the river.
Meanwhile, Mr. Phiri has disclosed that the new ZEMA e-platform has received positive feedback as clients are able use the platform to make payments.
He said clients are able to apply for licenses on the digital platform.
“The e-platform is live, members of the public are registering, and over 120 industry players are registered and interacting with us online which is a plus for the agency,’’ said Mr. Phiri.
He explained that the importance of the e-platform cannot be over emphasized as it helps people to work in a manner that can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.