17 January 2014

Tanzania: Mount Kilimanjaro 'Is Losing Its Beauty'

Moshi — AN environmental activist here has voiced concern over the worrisome pace of environmental degradation on Mount Kilimanjaro.

He says that unless thorough measures are taken to redress the situation the mountain will soon lose its natural beauty. Mr Leonard Massawe, the Executive Director of Lepaje, a Non Governmental Organisation that is fighting environmental degradation, issued the warning.

He said that: "The pace of environmental degradation is alarming in Kilimanjaro Region as there are businessmen who have engaged illegally in logging and are not dealt with adequately through legal curbs."

Mr Massawe said it is sad to see the escalating loss of biodiversity in the area that was for generations a major source of good drinking water and irrigation.

The area was also a power generating source for the National Grid. He said the problems facing Moshi and Kilimanjaro as a whole include land degradation, habitat fragmentation, loss of biodiversity, deterioration of aquatic systems, deforestation, frequent forest fires and pollution.

The problems, he said, have a negative impact on the economy and the well-being of the people of Kilimanjaro. Mr Massawe was speaking on the occasion of his NGO's 10th anniversary.

He said that to some extent human activities are to blame for climate change in Kilimanjaro Region, especially on the slope of the tallest mountain in Africa.

Speaking at Kifuni Village, Kibosho Ward, Mr Massawe promised to press on with activism in controlling environmental degradation and asked other stakeholders to join hands.

The director noted that climate change has affected development projects including agriculture as many farmers depend on rains that do not fall as it used to be in yesteryears.

He, however, said that since they initiated afforestation programmes in open areas, people's residences and in different institutions it seems the green image of Kilimanjaro is gaining ground.

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