Diani residents want the government barred from harvesting sand off the southern coastal line.
The locals moved to court seeking an order to restrain and prohibit Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Kenya Pipeline Authority (KPA) from harvesting sand and dumping waste on the coastline between Likoni and Diani.
They also want the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) prohibited from granting any license to KPA and the CS to harvest sand or dump sediments until a fresh environmental and social impact assessment and underwater study is undertaken as per the law.
Under the auspices of South Coast Residents Association and Kwale County Natural Resources Network, the residents argue that the economy and lifestyle of Kwale County is dependent on tourism and fishing due to white sandy beaches, marine life and coral reef on the coastline.
Ms Gertrude Mwenda, Graham Bowcher, Jayne Magondu, Mwanahawa Salim, Mohamed Ali and Biasha Said, who are suing on behalf of the two organisations, said that early this year, a dredging ship began harvesting sand at Shelly and Tiwi beaches on behalf of KPA.
“Failure by the CS and Nema to ensure KPA protects and conserves the environment along the southern coastline has led to destruction of the corals and other unknown damages to marine life,” part of the petition by the residents states.
According to the residents, there is damage to the corals at the reef along Shelly and Tiwi beaches that will lead to eventual destruction of the white sandy beaches to the detriment of hoteliers and those residing in the area.
The residents said failure by Nema to implement some sections of the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act has exposed them and Kenyans to unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.
“The petitioners and more particularly the fishermen and associated businesses have suffered due to dwindled volumes of fish,” they said.
In her supporting affidavit, Ms Mwenda said the association raised its concerns with KPA, Nema and the government regional co-ordinator regarding the illegality of the sand harvesting activities and implication to the environment.
“The petitioners have not received any proposals from KPA and Nema towards mitigating the effects of sand harvesting being undertaken,” said Ms Mwenda.
She added that it is imperative that KPA is restrained from continuing with sand harvesting until its license is renewed or a new once is issued by Nema.
The petitioners are also seeking a declaration that the respondents have violated their rights under Article 42 of the Constitution to clean and healthy environment.
They also want a declaration that the respondents have violated their rights to ensure sustainable exploitation of natural resources, eliminate processes and activities that are likely to endanger the environment.
The residents want temporary orders issued restraining the CS and KPA from harvesting sea sand pending hearing and determination of the suit.
The case will be mentioned on July 29.