Kwale Beach Management Advocacy - Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers & Caterers (KAHC) - Kwale Beach Management Advocacy

In 2014, KAHC developed a Policy Position Paper (PPP) and draft a Model Beach Management Law to provide a legal basis for the control of beaches for the following counties: Mombasa, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu and Kilifi. In 2017, KAHC further lobbied for the enactment of the draft Beach Management Bill in both Kwale and Mombasa Counties.

The engagements of KAHC with both Kwale and Mombasa led to various discussions with the County Assembly members, and key leaders in the region. However, the draft Bills were never tabled and discussed as presented.

In Kwale, there were several discussions on the Bill in Kwale but there was little progress as the election season drew closer. KAHC engaged the County Assembly, however, as the elections drew closer in 2017 the Bill was not tabled for discussion in the house. KAHC engaged with other beach operators to agree on the proposed draft Beach Management Bill.

During the first phase of developing the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), KAHC learnt that the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) had permitted harvesting of 8000 cubic meters of sand from Diani. KAHC was able to convince the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (PCENR). As a result, the PCENR issued a stop order, and during phase II of the SGR, the contractors are using alternative materials.

However, due to the lack of appropriate legislation, NEMA has authorised the dumping of dredged materials from port activities and harvesting of sand for use in port expansion by the Kenya Ports Authority. The dumping and sand harvesting activities are being undertaken in ecologically sensitive areas in Diani – specifically Waa and Tiwi. The dumping of dredged materials from the Port in Diani pollutes the coastline affecting marine life, fish volumes, and by extension affects beach activities such as swimming, diving and snorkelling. In addition, the harvesting of sand is being done too close to the corals which take over 500 years to grow, causing irreversible damage to the coral reef and the marine life. These activities have led to the irreversible damage of Diani’s fragile ecosystem reducing the flora and fauna inhabiting this gazetted marine park, specifically, sea turtles and fish (sardines and tuna) which travel many miles to breed are now unable to do so.

KAHC argues that these activities not only harm the ecosystem, they also:

  • make the Kenyan coastline susceptible to increased ocean activities such as hurricanes, storms, and cyclones.
  • affect the tourism experience thus impacting on the tourism sector as snorkelling, swimming or diving will be affected by reduced visibility from the dumping;
  • affect the availability of fish in Diani thus hurting the ability of locals to earn from their fishing activities;
  • the property values for residents will also reduce significantly as the pristine coastline will be eroded.

In March 2019, KAHC petitioned the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure who issued a stop order to the sand harvesting and dumping activities at the South Coast demanding that the contractor seek alternative sites to conduct their activities. However, the stop order has been ignored as the activities resumed, two days after the issuance of the stop order. KAHC and the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) were invited to participate at a crisis meeting with KPA where they raised their concerns to the contractors. KPA defended the dumping and sand harvesting activities as they had been authorised by NEMA. Subsequently, KPA held a second meeting with stakeholders at Diani where a working committee was formed to address the grievances raised by the stakeholders. Some of the committee members as posted on the KPA website include KAHC, the South Coast Residents Association, and local beach operators and fishermen.  However, this committee is not operational, and is being fronted as a tool to show commitment to resolve the issues, whilst on the other hand, KPA has intensified sand harvesting and dumping activities. 

KAHC now seek BAF support to:

  • undertake research to document scientific findings of the effects of sand harvesting and dumping; and a social economic impact analysis of the sand harvesting and dumping along the Kwale coastline. These findings will be used to prepare a compelling proposal to the various MDAs involved including Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, NEMA, KPA and the County Government of Kwale.
  • lobby for the enactment of an appropriate Kwale County Beach Management Act which would give the county government authority to manage the beach resource in its entirety as envisioned in the constitution.

KAHC will lead the advocacy in collaboration with key BMOs in Kwale County namely: Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO); South Coast Residents Association (SCRA) and the Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA).

Share this Issue