Dar es Salaam — Importation, exportation, recycling and collection of hazardous waste including scrap metal, used batteries, electronic waste and hospital dischargeable have been suspended indefinitely as the government says it is preparing best practice for the trade.
Therefore, all permits, which were issued by the government to various importers and exporters of hazardous waste, have been invalidated effective yesterday.
According to a statement issued yesterday by the Vice-President's Office, traders have also been prohibited from receiving hazardous waste from anyone who does not have a permit from the Environment docket.
The directive comes following an impromptu visit to the Dar es Salaam Port by the minister responsible for Union and Environment, Mr January Makamba, and National Environment Management Council's (Nemc) director general Samuel Gwamaka yesterday.
The statement says the government was aware that there were over 40 containers loaded with scrap metal at the port awaiting exportation, but it was found that only ten containers were still at the port while 34 others have already been exported even without authorisation.
Mr Makamba said: "We shall track down the shrewd culprits".
However, he did not give further details about the action.
Section 133(2) of the Environment Act, 2004, bars any person from transporting within Tanzania or exporting hazardous waste without ministerial permit.
The statement says that scrap metal was imported into the country as "loose cargo" from the Comoros via Zanzibar.
"This consignment has been impounded until exhaustive examination is complete. Relevant steps will be taken against importers for flouting standing regulations," the statement says.
It also warns that people who will vandalise national infrastructure and trade those parts as waste metal "will hereafter be charged with destruction of public infrastructure under the Economic Sabotage Act."
The statement says all people trading in categorised hazardous waste must register themselves with Nemc.