14 November 2012

Tanzania: Isles Tourism Contributes to Environmental Degradation

TOURISM in Zanzibar contributes to more than 75 per cent of the Islands foreign earning, but environmentalists have raised concern over the role of tourist hotels on the issue of environmental conservation.

Local leaders and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) are asking the government to review for improvement laws, policies and regulations and enforce the same to minimize the on-going environment degradation in Zanzibar.

Giving their views during a meeting organized by the Community Development and Environment Conservation in Zanzibar (CODECOZ) for local leaders including Shehas, councillors and members from CBOs, participants said the government has been dragging its feet in taking action against people damaging the environment.

Mr Mohamed Suleiman Rajab, a councillor and Ms Maryam Said were of the opinion that many laws, policies and r e g u lat ions regarding environmental protection are being ignored. During the meeting held at Mwanakwerekwe in Zanzibar, participants also said that the government needs to do more not just by reviewing existing laws and policies but also making sure that they at least enforced.

"We ask respective authorities to make sure that the laws are improved and enforced to save Zanzibar from environmental degradation. We even have some councils in government on issues concerning the environment have been idle for unknown reasons," Mr Rajab said.

Mr Rashid Ali Mohamed, one of the meeting facilitators, pointed out that the tourism sector has been contributing to damaging the environment because most investors violate construction laws requiring them to construct structures not too close to beaches. Dr Narriman Jidawi, from the University of Dar es Salaam- Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS), appealed for joint efforts in conserving the endangered environment.

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