Department of Environment Cracking Down on Illegal Sand Mining

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts  – The Department of Environment (DOE) issued another warning on 14th August 2023 to the public, highlighting that it is an offence to remove sand from ghauts and beaches without a permit from local authorities.

The DOE was made aware that several operators have been engaging in illegal practices including regularly removing the sand without any legal documentation, and conducting mining activities at undesignated sites, primarily outside of operating hours.

To counter these challenges, the DOE is rolling out a campaign to crack down on these illegal activities which includes a close partnership with the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force.

Uncontrolled mining of the beaches causes erosion to the beaches, according to Kashief Hynes, Conservation Officer in the DOE. He further stressed, “The illegal practice not only destroys the habitats of plants and animals on the beaches. We all need to protect the beaches and surrounding ecosystems like wetlands, we cannot lose these natural resources that we all enjoy.”

Currently, it is an offence under the laws of St. Kitts and Nevis, specifically the National Conservation and Environment Protection Act, 1987, to remove sand from ghauts and beaches without the required permit. According to the law, persons caught will have to pay a fine of up to $10,000XCD, imprisonment for up to one year, or both. Additionally, the equipment or machinery used in connection with the offense can be forfeited.

To mine sand legally, one must first pay at the Public Works Department, Wellington Road, Basseterre. The receipt must then be taken to the Quarry for the issuing of the appropriate ticketing and instructions detailing when and where the sand can be mined legally.

The Department emphasizes that in accordance with the environmental legislation, no mining activity should be done outside of the hours of 8 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. on the days specified.

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