columnBy Ramadhani Kupaza
Different forms of hazards exist in Arusha. Different factors cause hazards in Arusha as would be expected. The word hazard also means danger.
Start with poisonous plants as a cause of hazards in Arusha. Scientists have revealed that traders located along Sokoine Road near the Arusha Naaz Hotel sell exotic flowers that are dangerous to human beings and livestock. The plants cause respiratory and skin diseases and invade agricultural lands and suppress growth of agricultural crops.
Traders near The Arusha Naaz Hotel mix the plants with other flowers like roses. The whitish flowers of the poisonous plants make the flower bunches look really beautiful. Unsuspecting customers buy and send the poisonous flowers to sick friends and relatives. Some give the flowers to brides and grooms. Others keep the poisonous flowers on tables in their dining and living rooms. The plant that bears the flowers is called Parthenium plant and its botanical or scientific name is Parthenium Hystrophorous. Reports inform that the plant originates from the Caribbean.
Apparently, Parthernium has spread a lot in Arusha City and region recently. Yet problems associated with the plant are enormous. Parthenium colonizes grasslands vigorously and reduces production of pasture. Studies indicate that Parthenium invaded 14.25 million hectares of farm land in India between 2001 and 2007. The plant is a major health hazard to human beings since its pollens are a major cause of asthma especially in children and elderly people. Meanwhile, it is very expensive to control spreading of the plant where it invades.
Burning of plastics is a cause of hazards in Arusha City as well. Hazards are caused by gases that are emitted when plastics are burnt at high temperatures. Dangers caused by burning plastics include respiratory diseases and cancer. It is common for members of households in Arusha City to burn plastics as waste and when lighting cooking stoves.
Open manholes and open road drainage are another cause of hazards in Arusha. It is difficult for pedestrians to enjoy sightseeing along the streets of Arusha City because they have to look on the path regularly in order to avoid falling into the numerous dirt manholes and drainage. It is more dangerous to walk along the streets of Arusha during the night because it is difficult to see the manholes and drainage in darkness. Street lights in Arusha City are often non-functional.
Speaking of drainage, it appears that the Arusha City Council is finally working to solve the chronic drainage problem at the main market. The drainage system at the market has been a major cause of hazard in terms of contamination of food items sold at the main City market. The old drainage system is also a source of contamination in the rest of the Central Business District during rain seasons.
Another danger in Arusha is related to professionalism or lack of it. There are self made professionals in every sector whose workmanship can cause major disasters. For example, there are self made healers who can lure sick people to stop administering proper medication to cure diseases. Memories of Babu of Loliondo are still fresh. In addition, there are self made electrical engineers in Arusha who can install wiring systems in houses wrongly causing electrical faults and fire disasters. The faulty electrical appliances sold in shops worsen the situation.
Then, electricity reminds of potential hazards that can be caused by the high tension electrical wires that TANESCO has installed in residential areas. TANESCO stands for Tanzania Electrical Supply Company.
Polygamy and female genital mutilation are major causes of hazards in Arusha, needless to mention. Such practices lead to risks of contracting communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS. The list of causes of hazards in Arusha is long.