By Grace Moleyeaze, UL Mass Communication Department
The increasing mining of sand in Stockton Creek has claimed the attention of community residents, who have called on the leadership of the Caldwell Township to do something about it.
Interviews conducted among residents revealed that the Stockton Creek is home to many young Liberians who have seen the creek as a means to raise money in order to feed themselves and provide funds that would enable children to attend school.
Though many of the sand miners interviewed said they have no authorization from the leadership of the township, they said they have been involved in the illegal practice of mining sand for several years.
Mr. Samson Coffey, 25, said he has been constrained to involve in illegal sand mining, because he has not been able to find employment to support himself. But he could not explain what job he is qualified to do.
Coffey said he bought sand from miners and used the profits to support his high school education.
“I am doing this illegal business to survive,” he said. “I fix blocks from the sand that I buy from divers who go under the water to bring the sand. After I make some money, I take care of myself.”
One of the divers, Desmond Wright, told the Daily Observer that, “Though the job is hard, I prefer it than to get into trouble.” He also admitted that because the job he is involved in is illegal, he faces another danger.
“The Ministry of Mines and Energy does not want us to mine the sand,” he said, “so I am still involved in an illegal occupation. I hope that the government can see reason to help me with a job so that I can stop doing it.”
For several years now sand mining has become a lucrative job for many Liberians and other foreign residents in the country, according to authorities at Ministry of Mines and Energy, because of the recent boom in construction.