Coastal erosion and its social and environmental aspects in Tanzania: A case study in illegal sand mining
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Coastal erosion is one of the major coastal problems currently facing Tanzania. Several factors, including sea level rise, geology, and rapid coastal population growth accompanied by rapid increase of human activities that interfere with natural processes, have been linked to the problem. One of the human activities that has been well linked to the problem of coastal erosion is illegal sand mining along beaches, coastal streams/rivers, and other restricted areas. This causes localized accelerated/severe coastal erosion and enormous environmental degradation and threat to coastal properties. Illegal sand mining is presently a big industry in Tanzania, employing many youths, and has become a social, economic, and environmental problem. The problem of illegal sand mining in Tanzania is revisited, and possible measures to control it are proposed. Measures that can help to reduce/eliminate illegal sand mining are: governments to address effectively the problem of unemployment and poverty in the society by formulation of effective policies, including the total liberalization of the labour market and reduction of the tax burden and regulations on potential employers; identifying alternative sources of sand that are environmentally safe to mine, of good quality, and easily accessible; launching well-focused mass education on the problem of coastal erosion; encouraging formation of legally registered associations of sand-miners that will work closely with relevant authorities to curb illegal sand mining; and strengthening of governance and improving research funding in the country.