21 December 2012

Tanzania: State Closes Giraffe Ocean View Hotel

THE Government has closed Giraffe Ocean View Hotel in Dar es Salaam for failing to meet environmental standard requirements.

The Minister of State in the Vice-President's Office (Environment), Dr Terezya Huvisa, told journalists in her office that the order to close down Giraffe Ocean View Hotel comes after the hotel management failed to meet the environmental standards requirement set by her deputy minister, Mr Charles Kitwanga, during an earlier visit.

Dr Huvisa said that her deputy minister, Mr Kitwanga, had ordered the hotel management to repair its sewage system to ensure that filth did not drain into the sea and to keep the beach clean. But the orders were not fulfilled. She said that touring tourist hotels and ensuring they follow environmental standards and regulations is one of her office's top agenda in the 2013.

The upshot was to ensure the environment is kept clean. "We will be conducting these tours to ensure hotels along the beach and industries adhere to rules and regulations that require the environment to be kept clean, including keeping sewage out of the sea," she explained.

Dr Huvisa commended Beach Comber Hotel for maintaining a sustainable sewage system and keeping the beach clean. Commenting on the closing down of Double Tree Hotel, the minister said she would write a letter to revoke the hotel's environmental audit certificate that was issued to the hotel allowing it to start operating.

Thereafter, she would direct the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) to write an official letter closing down the hotel. "There are official procedures to be followed, which we are doing.

Once official documents are in place for the order to be executed, NEMC, in the company of police officers, will see to it that the order is complied with," she noted. She noted that hotels that received the order to close down are those that failed to comply with the directives given to them by her deputy minister, during an earlier tour to inspect hotels if they are adhering to environmental requirements.

'Daily News' visited Double Tree Hotel and found that operations were still on. People were making bookings for their guests, without the management notifying them that the hotel had been closed.

A statement issued by Double Tree management, but not signed, posted on social networks, noted that appropriate action had been taken to deal with the issue. "After a visit a week ago from the Ministry of environment (sic) it was brought to the attention of the management that the water system was malfunctioning.

"Upon guidance from the Environment Management Council (sic), investigation took place that revealed the source of the defect. The issue has been dealt with, and appropriate action has been taken," read the statement in part.

"The statement further noted that the hotel is liaising closely with the Ministry of Environment (sic) and other consultants to prevent the reoccurrence of this incident and also find a permanent solution. "The management very much regrets this incidence and thanks to the Ministry of Environment (sic) for the advice and support it has provided to the Double Tree in helping to address this problem," the statement noted.

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