1 March 2013

Tanzania: Experts Want Viable Action to Tackle Environmental Pollution

Mwanza — ILEMELA District Civil Societies Network with local authorities have conducted a meeting to promote a dialogue on issues related to climatic change, environmental pollution.

The experts who spoke during the one-day workshop discussed the effects of climatechange to Third World countries, adaption and mitigation strategies. The meeting was organized by the Ilemela District Civil Societies Network (Iledcinet) and attended by local experts, local officials and members of the public. Speaking during the opening ceremony, Ilemela District Commissioner (DC) Masenza reiterated the need to fight environmental pollution champions and decribed environmental pollution as a menace to the survival of human beings.

The Iledcine Chairperson, Mr Nicas Nibengo, says that the aim of the dialogue was to develop an engagement strategy between Civil Society (CSOs) and Ilemela Municipal Council on climate change adaption and mitigation is to enhance dialogue on climate change between CSOs and local government authorities.

Mr Nibengo said, apart from enhancing the dialogue on climate change between CSOs and LGA, both parties would engage citizens in participating in climate change adaption and mitigation. Doing so, he said, will make it easier to enhance partnership between the private sector, civil societies sector and the government sector. One participant, Mr Donald Kasongi, insisted that the engagement strategy puts clear that every individual, CSOs and government sectors, ought to understand how to work in a team.

He says that the climate change adaption is destined to facilitate the community to manage their lives when they are affected with the impact of climate change by taking to each other actions. Another expert, Edward Munaaba, stressed there is need that all key players take decisive measures in curbing environmental pollution. According to recent studies by the UN, by 2030 more than 400 million people will be climate refugees in Africa.

This situation will spark off more exoduses of youth to abroad, he claimed. He questioned that up to now there are 500 international environmental agreements, which have been concluded since 1972, the year of the Stockholm conference and establishment of United Nations environmental programme (UNEP). However, environmental challenges are still there. Jane Mayala from Tanzania Disabled Association and a resident of Ilemela District in Mwanza Region, was concerned about the way Ilemela Municipal council and Mwanza City Council failed to address public awareness on environmental upkeep.

Importance of environment in the economy of Tanzania is fourfold. First, it provides the basic resources for virtually all socioeconomic activity in the country. Second, it holds natural habitats, plants and animals that are irreplaceable as a global heritage. The environment is also a waste receptacle. Last, it is a foundation for eventual alleviation of abject poverty.

It follows therefore that the major thrust of environmental management is protection of the natural living species of humankind and integration of environmental scarcity in making decision on all economic issues and activities, say experts. The government of Tanzania realised the danger facing such resources including clean air, fossil fuels, whales, hardwoods and endangered species by taking appropriate measures ranging from looking at the policy, legal framework and institutional arrangement, which conform to socio-political and economic system.

The government, in collaboration with various stakeholders has put emphasis on promoting, strengthening and sensitising communities and individuals' participation as a strategy to invigorate environmental conservation and management. Together with the engagement strategy between CSOs and LGA, the government will give pace to the community in Ilemela Municipality through awareness campaign, environmental education and skills development, which will complement on various issues of environmental conservation and management.

It is impressive that the efforts to raise the public awareness, interests and actions have been shown in the Ilemela Municipality as more than 20 Community Based Organisations (CBO) and non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have formed a network which in collaboration with Ilemela municipality as societies sector joined the process to develop an engagement strategy on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Formally, the government and other collaborating institutions and agencies such as CBOs / NGOs have been implementing various programmes both in rural and urban areas. The media institutions (radio, TV, press, newspapers) has played a significant role in sensitising and undertaking various education programmes on environmental issues thus calming public/private interest, commitment and awareness on environmental management and conservation aspects.

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