The Omuthiya Town Council has laid down the law to community members and building contractors, informing them about their responsibilities when mining sand at the council’s burrow pit. Sand mining activities within Omuthiya ended abruptly in August 2020 when operators were ordered by the environmental commissioner to stop all actions as there was no compliance because of the absence of an environmental clearance certificate. Council was recently awarded the clearance certificate to resume mining activities at the contentious burrow pit, which is located within a residential area. With this clearance, the council is now taking extra steps to seal any loopholes exploited by miners, which might result in the licence being revoked. “That is why we have invited the community and the stakeholders so that you are informed on how to conduct your mining activities to avoid any of us getting in trouble, more so, losing the licence. The certificate came with certain rules, and such need to be followed,” stressed acting CEO Taimi Lungameni. Meanwhile, environmental health officer Diina Ambrosias explained that the would-be miners should be responsible to preserve the vegetation as well as fauna, reduce noise pollution and avoid eroding the soil. She also informed the miners that strong winds contribute to the further spread of pollutants into the environment. “We noted that there is air and noise pollution, but this can be managed by maintaining the fauna and trees, as well as equipping the machines with mufflers. The mining activities will be limited to eight operating hours a day for six days a week,” stressed Ambrosias. Among other measures in place would be a maximum 10 loads per day in an effort to manage and limit pollution as well as avoid traffic hindrances as the burrow pit is situated not far from the B1 main road. “We further caution the contractors to make sure that no servicing/repairs on the machinery are done on site, neither should harmful leakages be permitted,” she continued. Council will be charging N$40 per cubic metre of sand load, as per the 2019/20 tariffs. Furthermore, Ambrosias said, council will be imposing a fine of N$500 to first-time transgressors, increasing it to N$1 000 for repeat offenders, while those failing to adhere at all will risk their mining permits being suspended.