Environmental Stewardship

Artisanal and small-scale mining activities has spurred infrastructural development in the county where access to water, roads, communication and energy which is essential to the expansion of the county. This thematic area will focus in implementing SDG 7, 9 and 11will ensure increased productivity and income generation of the mining sector. Concrete interventions to drive the required infrastructure development, technology, and mining rights allocations will be prioritized within stipulated timelines.

Issues/ Challenges

Gemstone ASM mining impacts on the climate (SDG13), the environment, biodiversity and the terrestrial ecosystems (SDG15).  ASM occurs in diverse topography mostly in the arid and semi-arid areas of Taita Taveta County.  The nature of traditional mining methods by artisanal miners and the low-level mechanization within small-scale mines potentially emits less greenhouse gases (GHGs) compared to other industrial scale mining. Nonetheless, the global climate change continues to be a direct threat to miners in the county due to the rising global temperatures.  Miners work under the scorching sun presents risks of dehydration, headaches, exhaustion and other occupational health hazards. The changing climate patterns including drought frustrates the possibilities of miners to engage in farming as an alternative form of livelihood.

Although ASM sector plays a vital role in the social and economic development of the local community, it has profound negative impacts on the wildlife, environment and terrestrial ecosystems due to unsustainable ASM practices: including, tree cutting, removal of topsoil, abandoned pits, tunnels and trenches, and damping of mine tailings.  To pave way for mining sites, miners cut indigenous trees and plant species with reckless abandon – some of these take many years to grow and mature.

Sustainable mining practices ought to be adopted to reduce and eliminate the harmful effects of mining on the environment, biodiversity, and wildlife.  Governance is central to ensuring sustainable and carbon neutral ASM practices. In the case of ASM, effective governance arrangements require monitoring, participatory planning and enforcement of environmental regulation to combat deforestation and desertification.  Participatory decision making can play a critical component in resolving conflicts of biodiversity/wildlife conservation and unsustainable human practices.  The ASM sector should be supported and their capacity enhanced to ensure their compliance with environmental management legislation.


Key Thematic Clusters and Actions

Environmental Regulations

  • Improved environmental regulations and compliance
  • Sensitization and training on environmental regulations and industry standards


Environmental Management

  • Research on gemstone-driven deforestation, biodiversity loss and habitat fragmentation in Taita Taveta
  • Develop a sustainable environmental, social and health & safety strategy to reduce or eliminate the adverse impacts of ASM
  • Build capacities of communities, ASMs and CSOs to negotiate impact and benefits agreements
  • Develop an environmental health management protocol for ASM (particularly around ecosystem health and zoonotic diseases)
  • Compensation for land, and human-wildlife conflicts

Pillars of Sustainable Mining

Clean Energy

Artisanal and small-scale mining activities has spurred infrastructural development in the county where access to water, roads, communication

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