“Lesotho is made up of spectacular scenic beauty, characterised by breath-taking mountain ranges, soaring peaks, crystal clear streams, surging waterfalls and a rich variety of endemic plant species.”
“This, makes the ‘Kingdom in the Sky’ one of the most unspoiled natural environments on the continent,’’ says Lesotho High Commission in London.
Tourism- Lesotho Review states that, Lesotho possesses wealthy tourism assets, such as outstanding natural beauty, unusual combination of landscapes and experiences setting it apart
from other African destinations.
Natural resources, including sand are infinite; but with the demand, sand has become the second most used natural commodity on the planet after water, 2012 UN report notes.
The natural beauty of the country is endangered by the effects of sand dredging.
Lesotho’s sand is of high quality after marine offshore deposit and it is sourced from terrestrial deposit United Nations commodity Trade Statistics Database stated.
Lesotho sand is mainly used in construction. However, world-wide, sand is used in glass making, paint, ceramic, sun screens, glazing for pottery, mirrors, fibre glass among others.
Sand mining is not commercialised in Lesotho due to inadequacy of infrastructure and finance.
Vince Beiser a New York Times reporter says that sand drenching has resulted in many rivers and wells drying up killing the vegetation and aquatic life, leaving communities without water.
The report continues to state that excavation of sand, is allowing the chemicals to leak further inland making ground water at surrounding areas unfit for domestic consumption.
Continuous excavation of sand depletes sources, with a rapidly urbanising world; the situation is already being experienced in many parts of the world.
Sand dredging results in habitat loss including destruction and fragmentation of fragile endangered ecosystem and reduced species richness.
It leads to increased shoreline erosion rates when done unscientifically, this poses a threat to critical infrastructure such as bridges, roads and rail way tracks states 2010 global report.
“Water does not exist in isolation. It is an integral part of any ecosystem and as such, every change to the ecosystem has hydrological impact which then leads to sociological, economic and other environmental consequences,” Business Analyst from Coastal Care Organization Kiran Pereisa said.
Water is under threat from a wide variety of factors such as over abstraction of water from rivers, pollution and changing patterns of precipitation.
Kiran Pereisa’s report that there are other factors with significant social, environmental and economic impacts that are less taken into consideration and one such factor is an activity known as sand dredging. Sand excavation poses a threat to water security in that it results in lowering of the alluvial water base, which in turn directly affects ground water storage capacity.
Excessive dredging allows for saline intrusion into ground water. The lowered water table implies a rise in water costs, thus restricting access to only those who can afford it.
April 11, 2017 Sunday Express reported that Basotho would have to dig deeper in their pockets following the Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority’s (LEWA) approval of a 4.6% increase in water and 3.6% increase in electricity tariffs, which came into effect on April 12.
TNS => Mamphana Molotsi