Dar es Salaam. With growing urban centres, open waste burning has continued to increase, posing health hazards and challenging the country’s initiatives towards industrialisation and sustainable development.
This was said yesterday by deputy permanent secretary in the Vice President’s Office Joseph Sokoine during the opening of an inception workshop on promotion of best available techniques and best environmental practices to reduce Unintentionally Persistent Organic Pollutants (u-POPs) released from waste open burning in Tanzania.
He said despite the government’s efforts to set legislation, regulations and guidelines, the trend indicated that more concerted and coordinated efforts were needed to tackle issues related to pollution caused by burning waste materials.
“In urban areas less than 30 per cent of domestic waste is collected for final disposal at municipal disposal sites, the rest is burnt or buried at household level,” he said.
According to him, uncontrolled burning represents 780.39 out of 946.60 grams of toxic equivalent per annum (TEQ/a), biomass burning covered mainly forest and grassland fires (166.33 g TEQ/a and 244.96 g TEQ/a respectively) in Tanzania. No data were available for agricultural residue burning. The rest of emissions were due to domestic waste burning.
Assistant director of the Environmental department Magdalena Mtenga said scientifically burned waste emits toxic gases which last long, endangering human health.
She said: “To reduce the risk, initiatives need to be invested in using the waste as a resource such as through recycling to produce usable products.”
Participants in the workshop came from government ministries and departments, United Nations Development Programme (UNIDO), academic institutions, the regional commissioner’s office, city and municipal councils in Dar es Salaam as well as NGOs.