Sierra Leone:Sand mining and the destruction of Kialondo beach and the Moa River.


By Mohamed John Kamara*

The local council in Kenema and the Government of Sierra Leone should take immediate action to stop the ongoing destruction of Kialondo beach and the Moa River for sand. We must preserve our environment for our future and those of our children.

Kialondo beach has been a major hot spot in Kenema for many years, especially during the dry season. The beach is in fact the river bank of the Moa river and offers a spectacular view of the rainforest, it unique rock formation. It has the potential to become a significant tourist attraction, creating jobs for people living in Kenema and Combema village.

However, recent demand for sand for construction in Kenema town has caused sand miners to descend on the river thereby completely changing it landscape. Once a beautiful beach with an amazing view of the Moa river, the bank has now been reduced to piles of sand ready for transport to Kenema.

It is bad for the environment because removal of sand at this volume will have a major impact on the river, it delta and marine ecosystems. It will also make the river bank vulnerable to erosion. The negative effects on the environment are unquestionable. If the situation is not properly addressed it will lead to a complete change of the landscape from a beautiful beach to a complete unused wasteland.

Sand mining on the Moa River is bad for the local economy because it is not in the public interest.

In particular it robs the people residing in Kenema and Combema village of much needed potential income. The only people who are benefiting from this trade are those involved in it. It is very possible that those responsible are not even aware of the impact of their actions on the river, the animals that live in them and the broader landscape.

The benefits of preserving Kialondo beach and its ecosystems far outweigh the immediate benefit of mining and selling off the sand. The people of Kenema and of Sierra Leone deserve beautiful places they can enjoy.

*Mohamed John Kamara is a Master of Economics (MEc) graduate from Northeast Forestry University. He currently lives and works in Australia. He’s passionate about the environment, especially forest and wildlife conservation.