Isle’s Minister for Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries, Mmanga Mjengo Mjawiri made the statement when responding to queries raised by members of the House of Representatives when speaking during the ongoing meetings in Zanzibar.
Mjawiri insisted on Isle residents to careful use the resource since the demand is high compared to its availability. He said the government has come up with special arrangements to control its extraction and use whereas one is required to apply for it through local government leaders.
“With this arrangement we have managed to control sand extraction from the previous 3,000 tonnes per day to 1,000 tonnes per day”, said the Minister noting that sand extraction has limited to authorized sites only.
He told members of the House that there is no need to import construction sand. He said the research they are conducting will give a clear picture of the resource demand.
According to Majwiri the government will have to conduct another scientific research before importing sand since there are some healthy complications which can be caused by mixture of sand.
“We must satisfy ourselves with where to get the resource. We cannot import sand before having scientific proofs that it will not have negative impact to the health of our people”, he noted.
He however admitted that sand scarcity has contributed to delayed implementation of major development projects including those under the Ministry of Education.
“We are aware of some project delays which have been caused by limited availability of sand. These projects include construction of schools and class rooms”, he noted.
Visiting sand extraction sites in February this year, Zanzibar President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein attributed the shortage with ongoing unplanned excavation of the resource.
Sand in Zanzibar is mined at popular sites namely Pangatupu, Chechele and Kiombamvua.
He expressed worries that sand stock at the Pangatupu site was 50,000 tonnes and another 200 tonnes at the CheChele site. He said the remained stock will only be used for implementation of state-owned projects.
The President directed responsible ministries and permanent secretaries to closely monitor the situation taking into account that he had already announced a ban on sand mining.