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Shadreck Situmbeko
Shadreck Situmbeko
The construction industry contributes greatly to the economies of most developing countries. It employs a large number of workforce; 7% of a country’s labour force typically works in construction of housing, commercial buildings, and physical infrastructure; in September 2006, 22,832 persons out of a total of 298,799 paid employees in Botswana, were from the construction industry, representing 7.64%. Small scale material suppliers often compliment the large commercial suppliers in this industry and manual stone “crushers”, though by principle falling under the mining and quarrying sector, are among the small scale materials suppliers in this sector (construction). Manual stone breaking is a source of livelihoods for an estimated 40 to 50 households at a site situated in the northeastern part of Livingstone, Zambia. The practice is found in several other locations within and on the fringes of Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka. It has also been reported in Mokwete, a village on northeast outskirts of Johannesburg, in South Africa, where a group of women earn their livelihoods through stone breaking. Manual stone breaking involve manual extraction of larger rocks followed by crashing of those large rocks into smaller sizes suitable for use, normally by means of anything ranging from a piece of metal to sledgehammers and picks. It is a joint-straining task expending amounts of muscle power, and with constant risk of hand and eye injury, and breathing in huge quantities of harsh dust. Extraction of large rocks usually from deep open pits also raises risks to operators of being holed into the pits by falling-in pit side walls, as well as risks of injury resulting from lifting large boulders from deep underneath to the working sites. It is basically a mining exercise that should be governed by a country’s mining regulations including laws on licensing and safety. It is, however, often done illegally and haphazardly with little regard for safety and the environment. This study was undertaken at the site in Livingstone and it looked at the risks associated with this trade; it also assessed environmental, safety and legal issues. The paper proposes remedial strategies that would improve productivity and safety of the small scale quarries as well as providing a basis for environmental sustainability.
10 Pages