Environmental concerns and responses in small-scale stone quarries in Nairobi
In Kenya the artisanal stone quarrying industry has grown rapidly in recent years, employing many, but also having adverse effects upon the environment in terms of the low recovery rate of usable stone, hence large amounts of waste, and the lack of rehabilitation of quarries after use. Alternative ways of addressing these concerns, whilst maintaining the essential characteristics of artisanal quarrying are suggested. In order to assess the ability of the various agents involved in quarrying to respond positively to the proposed changes, as well as to identify possible drivers for change, the economic and institutional context of artisanal quarrying activities are explored. Landowners currently let their land to quarriers on the basis of a royalty, which implies that they have an interest in the rate of production of stone rather than the quantity produced per unit of land. Leases are short term and landowners are often indifferent about rehabilitation. These factors serve as powerful disincentives to the adoption of more environmentally sensitive practices. There is also no effective regulation by the state. Some suggestions are made for addressing these constraints.