Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

13 June 2013

Tanzania: Minister Calls for Unity in Mitigating Climate Change

Dodoma — THE government has called upon all Tanzanians to rally behind its efforts in planting trees and preserving water sources and wetlands to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The Minister of State in the Vice-President's Office (Environment), Terezya Luoga Huvisa, said during the on-going Parliamentary session that the government needed collective efforts of all people to help in mitigating the effects of climate change.

"Climate change is a national and global threat. We can only deal with it through planting more trees, preserving water sources and wetlands. We should urge the people to rally behind these efforts," the minister said in her reply to a legislator for Rombo in Kilimanjaro Region, Joseph Selasini, who raised concern over the depleting ice on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Scientists have warned that the peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world's highest free-standing mountain, may soon be ice free as the icecap on the mountain has been disappearing with serious implications for the rivers that depend on ice melt for their flow.

Several rivers are already drying out in summer due to depletion in melting water and recent projections suggest that if the recession continues at its present rate, the ice cap may disappear completely by the year 2025.

Between 1912 and 2011, the mass of ice on the summit of the 19,341ft dormant strato volcano in Tanzania decreased by more than 85 per cent, researchers with NASA's Earth Observatory revealed.

The Minister said the depleting layer of glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro were due to effects of climate change and our indifference in preserving the environment and protecting of water sources through wanton cutting of trees and poor cultivation methods that affect the environment.

She hailed Kilimanjaro Region for applying various measures to preserve the environment and protecting water sources that included stopping cutting of trees along the slopes of the mountain.

The Minister called upon Members of Parliament to work closely with councillors and local government leaders to get people's support on efforts to preserve the environment through planting of trees and protecting of water sources and wetlands.

Earlier, the Deputy Minister of State in the Vice-President's Office (Environment), Charles Kitwanga said that climate change had affected the environment to a great extent including prolonged dry seasons in many areas. He said the government had prepared policies, legislation and various strategies in an effort to mitigate effects of climate change in the country.

The Deputy Minister was responding to a question from Pudensiana Kikwembe (Special Seats-CCM), who wanted to know what strategies the government has to protect water sources in the country. He said the government had prepared a national environmental policy in 1997 aimed at, among others, to control land degradation and water and air pollution.

He said in 2004, the Environmental Management Act No. 20 of 2004 was enacted and led to re-establishment of the National Environment Management Council. The Environmental Management Act No. 20 of 2004 which repealed the National Environmental Management Act No.19 of 1983 provides for a legal and institutional framework for sustainable management of the environment, prevention and control pollution, waste management, environmental quality standards, public participation, environmental compliance and enforcement.

The Deputy Minister said the government prepared the National Climate Change strategy and action plan in 2012 to help in mitigating climate change effects and enable the people to participate in activities aimed at addressing problems associated with climate change effects.

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