By: Nicole Waweru.
In the dark and treacherous depths of the earth, where miners toil daily to extract precious resources that power our world, a haunting spectre looms ever-present: the threat of a mine collapse. It is a tragedy that continues to claim the lives of brave people, leaving a trail of heartbreak and sorrow in its wake. Mine collapses serve as an upsetting example of the risks involved in this necessary but dangerous business.
The media has frequently captured the nation’s interest with stories of miners trapped far underground by collapsing tunnels. These sad occurrences show us the grave consequences that might result from poor safety regulations or from pushing the limits of exploration and extraction by humans. The human lives at the centre of these stories must be kept in mind, as well as the urgent need for changes to stop similar tragedies from happening again.
The recent case of two miners who lost their livers after the walls of an underground gold mine caved in on them in Ikolomani, Kakamega County is a recent example of how unsafe these mines have become. It is seen that one of the deceased, Evans Museve, entered the mine to inspect a hole’s formation following the dewatering and lowering of the water table.
Not just the miners themselves but also their families, friends, and entire communities suffer when a mine collapses. Beyond explanation, the relatives of the missing miners are experiencing unimaginable sorrow and worry. The distress of not knowing if their loved ones are alive or not during the hours, days, and perhaps weeks of rescue efforts is ingrained into our collective consciousness.
Rose Ayuma, the mother of one of the deceased spoke of her frustration upon learning of her son’s fate. She emphasized the financial strain that this loss has brought to her family and pleaded for assistance to support her late son’s wife and two children. The family now faces a lot of problems after the incident since they have to take care of the deceased family, which is sad because he is just doing his job.
The miners themselves are not primarily to blame for these disasters. The responsibility for guaranteeing the security of persons who work in the mining industry must be shared by mining corporations, governments, and regulatory organisations. It is crucial to take adequate safety precautions, receive continual training, conduct frequent inspections, and strictly adhere to the rules. However, the desire for profit and other economic pressures can weaken these vital safety precautions, resulting in accidents that could have been prevented.
We can see that miners in Kenya are poorly equipped and they lack the necessary gear to help them do their work effectively. The government should deploy better mining equipment because many people tragically lose their lives in the blink of an eye, seeing that all this could be avoided.
However, this problem is not limited to a single nation or a specific kind of mine. It is an issue that affects miners all over the world, from South America to Asia and from Africa to Europe. We should be united in our resolve to defend individuals who put their lives in danger to seek out essential goods because of this issue.
Innovating and utilising technology can help to mitigate this serious problem. Robotics advancements, remote sensing advancements, and better communication systems can all contribute to increased safety precautions and rescue efforts. The industry should make using these tools a top priority.
Change can also be driven by public pressure on authorities, businesses, and the sector as a whole. The combined voice of the people could call for accountability and transparency in mining operations, pressuring businesses to put safety and moral conduct ahead of financial gains.
The heartbreaking accounts of miners who perished in mine disasters serve as sad reminders of how much our world depends on the labour and sacrifice of these brave people. Therefore, we must make the necessary modifications to save the lives of miners and their families from such tragic losses. Mine collapses should not be a repeating nightmare for the present and the future, but an intolerable tragedy of the past.
In conclusion, miner deaths due to collapses are more than just tragic accidents, they are also signs of broader issues with the mining industry. We must keep in mind that every life lost affect family, communities, and society as a whole negatively. The daily risk to their life that miners take while working is unacceptable. Therefore, let us uphold their sacrifices by advocating for a mining sector that puts workers’ safety and welfare above all else and is more responsible, accountable, and compassionate.