The Booker Washington Institute Alumni Association (BWIAA) has called for a collaborative campaign involving the relevant government agencies, security authorities, community leaders and the media to halt the “rampant and illegal” river sand mining that threatens the viability of the bridge linking Vai town and Waterside and the one near the Jamaica Road at the Somalia Drive intersection.
In a press release, the leadership of the alumni association described the habit as “worrisome and disgusting,” saying it has on many occasions drawn the attention of the Maritime Authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministry of Public Works, but the “unwholesome and criminal acts” have continued unchecked.
“The illegal sand miners have been seen operating mainly near the Jamaica Road Bridge for a long time now,” the release observed.
In recent days, the release said, young men using dug-out canoes have also been doing serious, illicit deep-river sand mining very close to the multimillion dollar Vai Town-Waterside Bridge.
The BWIAA believes keeping a security watch on the bridges or authorizing and empowering community people to police the areas could curtail the ugly habits and save the bridges from eventual collapse.
The association wants authorities also to stop individuals from going to buy sand from the illegal miners whose intention clearly is to undermine efforts of national development and recovery.