Tanzania: Joint Efforts Needed in Combating Water Pollution

HUMAN life depends on availability of clean and safe water. United Nations (UN), water requirements per person range from 20 to 50 decent litres per day. Water data indicates almost 50 percent of Tanzania population access safe water.

With that number on the table, it strikes hard observing water sources pollution continuation over time and space across Tanzania.

Hence, World Health Organization (WHO), accounts for 80 percent of developing nations diseases to be water related, it is no brainer that water availability is an imperative factor to work-upon and collective efforts in combating water pollution are to be forged.

National Environmental Statistics Report of 2017 indicates that, our annual rainfall has been lying around 550- 2500mm, while the urban water supply reaching 86 percent of the population, with more than 22 million people served with water in rural areas (2016).

With all those numbers, it takes band of efforts and measures to safeguard the longevity of water provision to all people over space and time.

However, water pollution has been occurring for decades and evidently rivers, lakes, swamps, marshes and other wetlands have been polluted by human economic activities.

Such as chronic mineral processing activities, domestic sewage and industrial, commercial, institutional waste water, but also solid waste materials are being introduced into water sources every day.

United Nations-data on marine pollution show that land-based sources account for 80 percent of marine pollution of which almost 60 to 95 percent of it is of plastic.

Nipe Fagio, a local-environmental NGO based in Dar es Salaam, conducts beachcleaning waste audit assessment after every activity.

Thus plastic materials were among the high quantity of waste elements found on the beach areas during the cleaning campaigns, this sends a very loud signal that is not heeded.

Tanzania has been endowed with an extensive array of fresh water sources, rivers and lakes which cover 7 percent, but the rate of pollution has been higher compared to the sustainability measures.

Evidently, crucial power holders have been raising stakes high on combating water pollution. In September, 2018 President John Pombe Magufuli, intervened a chilling water crisis conflict in Nyamongo, Mara Region where community members and their livestock were affected by water consumed, His excellency, addressed his concern on the toll of dead cattle, people and skin complications, urging National Environmental Management Council to conduct another water quality assessment after the first report was found with flaws.

Thus, His excellency urged transparency to be a factor in addressing the issues, on the other side of the coin, seriousness of conserving is inadequate within responsible bodies.

The Nyamongo waterstrife, rose after prolonged pollution of communities' water sources from mining processes of which contain harmful chemical substance, seeping through the ground affecting the water tables and leaking through open ground other associated water sources.

Deforestation has been an associating shadow culprit behind water source pollution, where Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa in 2016 gave strict precautions to water polluters and urged Namanyere residents-Rukwa on preserving Nkasi forest which caters for the entire Nkasi district water demands.

Due to the intensity of the matter, stakes were raised high of which, Prime Minister directed 70 million TSH to be fined and 7 years jail time to the polluters.

Climate change has been a grim-challenge towards rural-dwellers livelihood supply especially water, for irrigation and human use. As rainfall patterns have changed tremendously affecting the regular water supply, forcing women to fetch water far away risking their lives and economies.

Industrial and population water demand over time and space, have multiplied the efforts to provide water and sate both entities demand, hence the operations have not mutually beneficial to the UN Sustainability Goal Number 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), industries and human activities are polluting water sources like there is another vital substance to access apart from water that can sustain human life.

Due to the fact that fresh water availability is dwindling over time and space, the urgency of protecting fresh water sources is incredibly required.

Disappointingly, still as communities, experts and power holders we have not exercised water sources conservation adequately. Most cities in Tanzania, lack sewage treatment facilities and consequence which catapults discharge of sewage waste into the environment.

Such as Mirongo river-Mwanza channeling human-foulness and other solid waste materials into Lake Victoria. Msimbazi river-Dar es Salaam doing the same and valley-dwellers intensifying pollution during rainy days.

To validate the latter, a study done by Salim Mohammed, University of Dar es Salaam, Institute of Marine on Assessment of water quality and pollution in Tanzania, found out that major cities fail to establish sustainable operational sewer networks to avert water-borne health risks. Mohammed went along and cited that "pollution in Tanzania has no yet reached alarming levels.

However, given the continuing population pressure and industrialization in the country as well as the presence of some hotspots along the coast, necessary steps need to be taken to preclude further deterioration of water quality in the country".

A cross sectoral collective effort approach will be of impeccable tool towards combating water pollution. In realizing industrialised Tanzania, water demands will be higher.

Thus relevant ministries and agencies ought to harness their resources and skills to wage war on water pollution at any cost, placing technology and human-centered-designs in at the fore front. Ministries: Environment, water, health, industry, trade and investment, mining, energy and education to mention the winning team, ought to preclude all water bodies pollution by incorporating the local people within water bodies location, harness their indigenous knowledge to make the conservation sustainable.

Moreover, it is vital to cast efforts in developing water treatment technologies to diminish waste water overload and downplay gray water draining in domestic environments.

Civil Society Organization, have a crucial role to play in addressing water challenges to communities especially by championing youth to be ambassadors of water sources protection.

The delicacy and pristine state of water is beyond monetary remedy pre-pollution, substantiating that with power holders advocacy, former Deputy Minister in Vice- President's Office (Union and Environment) Luhaga Mpina urged factories to abide by water treatment procedures, insisting: "It is better for the country to miss revenue collections from factories which pollute the environment that put people's health in danger"

● Padili Mikomangwa is an environmentalist based in Dar es Salaam, Mob:0763635597 or Email: padilijm@gmail.com

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