The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has moved in to address concerns raised by locals in Homa Bay County following harvesting of sand in Lake Victoria.
The sand harvesting is being carried out by a vessel owned by Mango Tree Marine Limited.
The vessel was launched early this year by AU head of infrastructure Raila Odinga for the dredging of Kisumu Port to allow big vessels to dork.
NEMA Director General Mamo Mamo, in a letter to Mango Tree Marine Limited, asked them to stop any further harvesting of sand in the lake.
Mamo said the harvesting was reported at Takawiri island and the presence of the vessel reported in Mbita, Mfangano and Rusinga islands.
Mamo said that under the Revitalisation of Kisumu Port Infrastructure, NEMA only licenced Mango Tree after carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to dredge Kisumu Port, Dunga area and Nyanza Golf Course.
He said any activity by Mango Tree outside the prescribed areas is illegal and must be stopped forthwith.
Mamo said any activity in the lake must get prior notification from the Authority.
NEMA has in the meantime given the Company 7 days to State the amount of sand harvested in Takawiri and its destination.
Mamo said this will enable the Authority to prescribe appropriate remedial measures to address the situation.
The Company management have also been summoned to NEMA headquarters in Nairobi next week for a compliance meeting.
Kenya Ports Authority too has been called upon to attend the meeting.
Locals, including fishermen in Takawiri island raised the red flag after the vessel was seen scooping white sand on the beaches.
This, they said was interfering with the ecosystem as they mounted pressure to have the Company surcharged for interfering with the environment without acquiring the requisite licenses.