Dar es Salaam — Environmental experts and key industry players are pushing for an integrated system, which will help direct waste materials produced in the city into proper channels or create opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators to put it to the best use.
Inspired by the slogan: 'New-normal to Zero Waste in Landfills in Tanzania,' the experts yesterday raised concerns over the increasing rate and quantity of the waste generated in the city, warning that if no urgent measures are taken, waste management could face grave challenges in future.
A medical expert and director of Tindwa Medical and Health Services (TMHS), an organisation that has been tasked to handle Covid-19 waste, Dr Chakou Halfani, said illegal disposal of solid waste along roadsides, streets and open spaces in major cities is beyond endurance, calling for sustainable interventions
Dr Halfani cited data from city authorities which indicate that Dar es Salaam accounts for 55 per cent of the waste generated and piled up in open spaces, sewer pipes, roads and human residents and only 45 percent is sent to the authorised dump site, which is equivalent to 1,200 tonnes only of all solid waste.
To overcome the challenge, Dr Halfani said it was high time an Integrated Waste Management (IWM) was strengthened so that decisions made by the authorities and experts about waste management are well coordinated and implemented by people who directly or indirectly handle the waste.
"This can be done through strengthening a network of key players in waste management, such as government authorities, manufactures, waste collectors as well as suppliers of waste as raw materials," said Dr Halfani, during the Integrated Waste Management Symposium (ISWM-S) that took place in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
IWM, he said, means that aspects of waste management decisions as well as how the waste generation system impacts on the surrounding environment and communities--all are handled under one roof.
During the symposium, stakeholders in waste management discussed how Tanzania can further deal with the waste burden that comes with the emerging infectious diseases (such as viral pandemics) and its challenges, business opportunities that are related to waste.
The director general of the National Environmental Management Council (Nemc), Dr Samuel Gwamaka, who officiated the symposium said the management of waste has become a global agenda in recent years and in Tanzania, there are heightened concerns raised over the environmental impact of Covid-19 waste. "As the volume of waste increases, the types if waste increases as well, especially during this period of Covid-19 pandemic when face masks, plastic bottles, plastic straws, cup tins and cans are on the increase," said he said.