Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Sand mining near Dolphin Head beach sparks concerns

Published:Thursday | June 8, 2017 | 6:00 AM

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has been working with the Duncan's Bay Citizens' Association in Trelawny to improve management and protection of local beaches. In a media release, JET noted that there have been problems regarding legal and illegal sand mining, garbage pollution and clearance of beach vegetation in the area. JET noted that it has been in frequent contact with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) regarding these issues over the past two years.

"There was an advertisement in the print media on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 for a public meeting regarding a new sand mining operation by Duncan's Bay Development Company to take place on the same day, although some leaflets and other methods of communication were used locally. Once more, JET objects to the lack of notice to interested parties who do not live in the immediate vicinity of such developments," the release noted.

"JET understands that this sand mining application was turned down by the Board of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) but was allowed on appeal to the minister. The Duncan's Bay Citizens' Association has provided NEPA with considerable evidence that this area is used by nesting sea turtles, which are protected under Jamaican law. JET cannot, therefore, understand why the developer's appeal was successful.

"Prime Minister Andrew Holness is the portfolio minister for the environment. JET, therefore, respectfully requests the prime minister to advise whether:

1. He was adequately briefed on the risks of sand mining to the coastal environment, particularly in the context of global climate change;

2. He was aware of the local community's opposition to any further sand mining;

3. He was aware that the beach in question is a documented turtle nesting beach.

"JET reiterates its objection to the removal of sand from Jamaican beaches to other beaches in different parts of the island, due to the risks this poses to the marine environment and coastal infrastructure."