A STUDY OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES: A CASE STUDY OF GYPSUM MINING IN KAJIADO, KENYA
OMOTI, KEFA MISUKO
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Kenya is endowed with a wealth of natural resources comprising minerals, land, soils, air, forests, wildlife and various other forms of biodiversity. In the recent past, the Country has witnessed increased attention in the exploitation of mineral resources such as titanium, gypsum and gold to just name a few. Exploitation of mineral resources is prone to bio-physical and socioeconomic impacts. Due to regular violent protests by the local population on account of environmental degradation, there is need to identify the nature and scale of environmental impacts of gypsum mining in Kajiado. There is a gap in the analysis of extractive industry impacts because the discussions in the literature on impacts of gypsum mining on the environment are site specific and lack in details. The study sought to establish the impact of gypsum mining on livelihoods, landscape, water quality and particulate matter concentration in Kajiado County. The study employed the Mixed Method Research (MMR) design. Qualitative data was collected from 95 respondents and key informants using questionnaires and interview schedules through Simple Random Sampling (SRS), Stratified Random Sampling and purposive sampling. Quantitative data was collected through field analysis of water quality parameters, particulate matter (PM 2.5) sampling and satellite imagery evaluation. Administrative medical records of patients residing in the study area were examined for respiratory health effects and outpatient consultation rates. Qualitative and Quantitative data was analysed separately in descriptive and inferential statistics. It was established that gypsum mining had a considerable positive impact on livelihoods of study area residents, β = 0.375; p value = 0.000 and t value 3.679 and a significant negative impact on air quality with daily mean of 570 µg/M3 of particulates against WHO (2005) recommended maximum of 25 µg/M3. The impacts of gypsum mining to water quality were insignificant and indirect. The study advocates for location of mining sites away from residential areas, regular monitoring, awareness creation on the negative impacts of mining and a review of the mining policy. The study findings contribute to literature on extractive industry activities and inform policy development on environmental management in Kenya.