Sand scarcity hits Z’bar archipelago

22Feb 2021
By Guardian Reporter
Zanzibar
The Guardian
Sand scarcity hits Z’bar archipelago

​​​​​​​Tanzania's semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar is facing a serious shortage of sand for the construction industry, a senior official has said. The  Isles' government is considering instituting a ban on sand mining as the resource has been depleted in the Indian Ocean Island.

Minister for Water and Energy Suleiman Makame.

Recent  study shows that in Unguja and Pemba islands, sand for construction has been exhausted due to the high demand of the construction materials. That's why we're thinking of banning sand mining and start importing the materials to meet the isles' growing demand," the minister said.

Zanzibar engineers and other players should  start thinking about the alternatives to sand in the construction industry.  For the last 10 years Unguja mined 2,658,503 tonnes of sand, while in Pemba 200,959 tonnes of sand during the same period. During the period, 522 hectares of land were involved in sand mining, while 150 hectares of land in Pemba.

Currently, Zanzibar remains with only 14 hectares of land which are rich with sand, the area which is not enough to meet the Isles' sand demand.

Minister for Water and Energy Suleiman Makame in Zanzibar has affirmed that the Island is currently facing acute shortage of sand, a move which has forced the government to bar traders from selling the resource to mega construction companies.

He made the remarks yesterday here when issuing a report on the status of sand availability in the Indian Ocean Archipelago.

Makame said that the government has come up with an alternative solution which requires all companies with high demand of sand to first write a letter to the ministry detailing their needs.

“The ministry has also opened a new site where people can harvest sand but it will be there to conduct close monitoring to ensure that the material is well used,” he said.

“We are facing acute shortage of sand here in the Isles, and what we are doing as the government is to control and ensure that what we have is distributed fairly to all people in need,” he said.

The minister said that those needing less than 30 tonnes are also required to fill a special application form and the sand will be delivered at their workplaces.

According to him, from now on, no one will be allowed to store sand in their areas including in the factories to produce bricks.

He however acknowledged that the scarcity of sand and the new procedures of getting the resource could largely lead to an increase in construction costs, including the price of bricks.

Makame said 30 percent of Zanzibar’s land is available for construction activities, while 60 percent of Zanzibar’s islands in the southern part of Unguja are rocky and the rest is loam.

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