12 January 2013

Tanzania: Can We Make This City Clean?


AT the end of last year, my ardent readers would remember that I wrote something on getting our Dar es Salaam city clean. This followed the launching by the Minister of State (Environment), Dr Terezya Huvisa Luoga of a report known as the Dar es Salaam City Environment Outlook (DCEO) 2011.

According to the minister, the document provides information and knowledge on the city environment serving as a guide document for policy-makers and other stakeholders on how to improve environment performance of the city. With the launching of this document DCEO and the strong words delivered by the minister responsible for environment and the way she was referring to the Vice-President's displeasure on the state of our city, I knew the heads would be rolling.

I was encouraged by the seriousness emanating from the launching of that document and I vowed to dedicate my pen in making a follow up of those observations expected to serve as a guide document for policy-makers and other stakeholders on how to improve environment performance of our city, Dar es Salaam. In this context having super interest of making Dar es Salaam city worthy of the name, I declared my interest in assigning myself for free that the year 2013 will see a very close follow up in the media and that accountability report from all the stakeholders should be on the table on agreed periodical frequency as a matter of urgency in the spirit of public and government partnership in transparency.

While I was putting my strategies together, one of my readers, in a very irate manner, bombarded me with very telling inputs. He says, "Our city will never get clean by those city officials sitting in air-conditioned offices or by roaming about in luxurious vehicles. Our leaders always think that only efficient garbage collection means cleanliness." He might be right and that could be the right input in advising our city fathers to change their style of working if they are really committed into making Dar es Salaam city the pride of its inhabitants.

However, the Dar es Salaam City Environment Outlook 2011 reveals that Dar City is growing very rapidly with settlement pattern of pockets of planned areas and a mosaic of unplanned landscapes. The population has increased from 69,227 with a growth rate of 2.4 per cent in 1948 to 2,497,940 in 2002 with a growth rate of 4.3 per cent which is about 80 per cent of the population lives in unplanned settlements. If you have 80 per cent of the population living in unplanned settlements then having an orderly city is a pipe dream!

These are the Manzeses, Tabatas, Majohes, Kijichi, Gongo la Mboto and other several areas which are mushrooming that need to be integrated and made to be modern settlements like Mikocheni, Mbezi Beach and the like. The idea of having satellite settlements like the proposed Kigamboni should be one of the ways to go. But you need to have a well organized system of builders such as having Real Estate together with the National Housing Corporation (NHC) to change the landscape of Dar es Salaam and the City Council should take its rightful role as the owner of Dar es Salaam and have the entire infrastructure which constitute the city.

In developing DCEO, a number of methodical approaches were considered. They include socialeconomic issues, legal, policy and institutional framework, land and aquatic resources; minerals and energy resources; waste management and sanitation, environmental pollution and climate change. The objectives of DCEO which included the consultations from various stakeholders was aimed at establishing baseline data for measuring, monitoring and evaluating environmental changes to improve understanding of the causes and effects of environmental change and recommend appropriate responses to guide policy makers.

It is also aimed at strengthening the capacity of Dar es Salaam stakeholders in sustainable environmental management and improvement of people's livelihoods; to identify emerging environmental issues and provide and/or review policy actions and responses that would enhance community benefits from improved natural resources management and poverty reduction. The most disturbing issue right now in Dar es Salaam is the filthiness of our city. Despite the existing policies related to environmental management and conservation, the situation is far from better.

There is an increase of haphazard disposal of liquid solid waste especially in unplanned settlements resulting into environmental pollution. Dar es Salaam holds about 80 per cent of industries in Tanzania, such as agro-chemicals, textiles and cement industries. The untreated discharge from these industries causes significant levels of environment pollution including water sources. It is estimated that almost 70 per cent of these industries discharge their effluent directly or indirectly into the Indian Ocean. This should be the first area to deal with but you can imagine how difficult it is.

You may remember the two hotels which were supposed to be closed in our beaches, the next morning you hear another minister complaining of the closure on the guise of scaring tourists. This has been the trend now ministers differing openly on issues which should have been discussed in cabinet meetings! Another issue is the problem of water supply in Dar es Salaam where most of the taps run perpetually dry. The city currently depends on three main water resources of Ruvu and Kizinga River and a number of bore holes.

The actual production from these sources is an average of 270,000 cubic metres per day while the demand is estimated to be 450,000 cubic metres per day, a shortfall of about 180,000 cubic metres. There are major challenges facing urban water supply both in quality and quantity, deficient billing and revenue collection system and inadequate enabling environment for private sector participation. Power supply is yet another endemic problem! Probably we need to hear from the City Fathers their way forward in addressing these challenges. Next week another follow up on waste management and sanitation in Dar.

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