19 January 2013

Tanzania: Dar Waste Disposal, Right Step Towards City's Cleanliness


In my previous column, I indicated my national commitment in seeing that Dar es Salaam City is given the necessary attention to escape from the current filthy situation into a more befitting status of a clean city.

I have been able to visit some of the clean African cities such as Kigali, Johannesburg, Maputo, Windhoek, Gaborone and at that time Harare. What do they have that we are missing?

I have the guts of saying we can, as within the country, I am told there are cities and towns like Mwanza, Moshi, Musoma and Kigoma which are incredibly clean. Why not Dar es Salam? Probably the main inhibiting factor is our culture and attitudes! We are not used to cleanliness and do not appreciate beauty!

I remember those days when Mzee Ramadhani Nyamka was both the Regional Chairman of CCM and Mayor of Dar es Salaam, he tried to introduce tree planting along the Pugu road currently Nyerere road with protections of drums which over night were stolen or destroyed!

But it looks now there is a systematic change of attitude as almost everybody is complaining of stinking Dar es Salaam city and hope that residents of Dar es Salaam would cooperate in the implementation of the Dar e Salaam City Environment Outlook (DCEO) 2011 which was recently launched.

Come rain come dry season, all are bad for Dar es Salaam residents but rains keep the city soaked with water and impassable streets overcrowded by stranded dala dala commuters. The worse of it is the waste management and sanitation.

Waste management is a headache to the city administrators as a result of increasing urbanization, rural-urban migration, rising standards of living and rapid development associated with population growth.

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 percent which about 80 percent of the population lives in unplanned settlements. Therefore the proper management of waste has thus become one of the very pressing and challenging environmental problems in the city.

Solid waste management within the unplanned settlement makes it invariably impossible to make the city clean. The solid waste which makes 50 per cent is generated with other sources including commercial activities, industries and markets. Solid waste in the city according to DCEO 2011 report is largely organic, composed of remains of foods and vegetables which contribute about 60 per cent of the composition.

Solid waste generation has been steadily increasing from less than 2,000 tons per day in 1998 to about 4,200 tones of solid waste per day in 2011 of which only about 37 per cent is disposed off in dumpsites or landfills. You can imagine how possible could it be to make such a city clean with more than 60 percent of the solid waste finding nowhere to be disposed off!

Stakeholders particularly the private sector on the guidance of the City Management is required to plan the infrastructure and the strategies on how to effectively deal with this waste. The DCEO is suggesting that the need for investment in the provision of solid waste management services is a necessity particularly adopting a privatization system that would help to address the major shortfalls in solid waste management services, increasing efficiency and lowering costs.

The current situation is hazardously managed and shows a significant illegal dumping of solid wastes close to residential areas especially in the unplanned areas. This needs to be addressed as it is the source of all epidemics. Another worse scenario is the Dar es Salaam City sewage system which is composed of separate systems of a combination of gravity and pumped flaws.

The sewage network is overwhelmed and as such it is common to find sewage overflowing in different parts of the city. During the rainy seasons the people take advantage of emptying their cesspits to the flowing rain waters. Most areas, including much of the City centre have totally inadequate and poor storm water drainage system causing the affected areas to be frequently flooded during heavy rains.

Investment in waste water management has been very meager resulting into lagging behind water supply development for wastewater sewage system and treatment plants to meet the standard set for effluent disposals.

All that said what the way forward is in turning around the city of Dar es Salaam into becoming the real pride of our country in terms improved infrastructure and cleanliness? Of course there must be short and long term strategies. On socio-economic issues, it is imperative that more satellite cities are needed to reduce population pressure at the city centre.

This would also require the strengthening of effective enforcement of laws, by-laws and regulations governing trade and manufacturing industries. On waste management, budgetary and management systems should be strengthened at the local level to support the effective implementation and operation of municipal solid waste management services.

A sustainable integrated waste management should be considered with emphasis on waste segregation and sorting of source. Consideration should also be given into utilization of recyclable material and adherence to Healthcare Waste Management Policy guidelines and Monitoring Plan.

This DCEO report has touched all aspects on how the City of Dar es Salaam could be revamped into becoming one of the clean cities if only our city fathers would take heed of these observations. The Dar es Salaam city has four local authorities of Ilala, Kinondoni, Temeke and the City Council.

The three local authorities should be made accountable to their people through the new government and public partnership in terms of transparency so as to make the habitants of Dar es Salaam conversant on the new innovations of their city. It can be done play your part!

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