People investing thousands of dollars in residential buildings near the Atlantic Beach in Duazon risk losing their properties as a result of rampant sand mining there.
Prominent government officials including Senator Albert Chea; National Investment Commission Chairperson, Etmonia David Tarpeh; former Gender and Development Minister, Vabah Gayflor; as well as Liberians living abroad have properties in this area.
The area is also home to other not-so-affluent-residents, many of who live in makeshift structures.
These residents, according to elder William Cooper, are mainly engaged in sand mining for a living, something he said would affect many of the residential areas in the future.
Mr. Cooper said a man identified as ‘Bobby’ is the head of the sand mining activity; a situation he said is uncontrollable as those involved in the act are “hostile and disobedient to authority in the vicinity.”
John Nimene, a Liberian living in the United States who is erecting his house in Duazon, complained to this newspaper that the high level of sand mining in the area is threatening his structure.
He was visibly emotional when he saw the condition created near his house due to sand mining. He said he has invested huge sums of money in the project with the aim to move to Liberia by next year, but believes that the local residents continue to mine sand in the area despite steps instituted by the government to halt their activities.
Nimene expressed fear that a similar activity was being carried out in West Point and New Kru Town, where D. Tweh High School is located. These places are currently under threat from persistent waves from the Atlantic Ocean, which has eroded most of these areas.
“My concern is about the erosion. See what’s happening in West Point and near D. Tweh. I was in the area four months ago, and what I observed today was not here. The place has turned to be like Bomi Hills when the concessionaires left without putting into place any
development package. The people here are mining the sand near this beach, and when it continues, the ocean is going to destroy our properties,” Nimene expressed.
He also identified Bobby as the head miner who allegedly runs a sand mining group who picks up the mined sand during the dark hours of the morning while people are asleep.
To prevent Bobby from continuing his sand mining trade, Nimene said he has constructed concrete pillars to prevent trucks from going down the beach for sand.
“Since I have built the pillars you see down there,” Nimene said, “the trucks do not go there any longer, but miners bring the sand up here and the trucks take it to customers in town,” he alleged.
However, none of the residents could identify the Bobby.
Meanwhile, Nimene called on government to enforce the law on mining sand from the beach to save their properties and the environment from future disaster.
When the Daily Observer toured the vicinity, our reporter found stockpiles of mined sand, with residents disclaiming ownership for fear of being arrested.
One resident told this newspaper that those involved in the mining come during the night to mine, but he cannot give account of them.
An official of the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy told the Daily Observer on condition of anonymity on Tuesday that government has ordered mining activities on beaches halted in the country.
According to the official, sand miners are restricted to river sand instead of the beach, and people caught in violation of the act will bear the weight of the law.
“We are going to inform the police to reach the scene and trace those involved in mining activities there,” the LME official said.
Meanwhile, sand mining at beaches has been an occupation for many local residents in Monrovia.
It may be recalled that a few years ago the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy regulated that builders use river sand instead of beach sand because mining on the beach was inviting disaster posed by the ocean’s waves.
In 2012, beach-slum dwellers near the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Sinkor were made homeless when their houses were leveled by violent waves from the ocean.
Maritime beach workers and some local residents attributed the disaster at the time to sand mining.
They contended that because people were mining sand near the ocean, the beach was at the level of the ocean instead of higher, thereby causing the ocean to freely flow towards dry land.