Dar es Salaam. About 500 containers of expired ‘shisha’ products have been detained at the port of Dar es Salaam, the government revealed.
The minister of State in the Vice President’s Office Union Affairs and Environment, Selemani Jafo said yesterday during his visit that the 40ft containers (2TEUs) have been imported since 2019.
Shisha usually contains tobacco, which is sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar. Popular flavours include apple, strawberry, mint and cola. Wood, coal or charcoal is burned in the shisha pipe to heat the tobacco and create the smoke
In a typical shisha session (about one hour), a shisha smoker can inhale the same amount of toxins as a cigarette smoker consuming over 100 cigarettes.
Smokers of expired shisha are at big risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases, cancers, nicotine addiction, and other health effects.
Speaking during the visit, Mr Jafo ordered the arrest of a foreigner who was identified by his single name Kaissy as a primary suspect of importing the expired shisha products.
Jafo clearly said the importer was dumping the unwanted products to Tanzania, and instructed the National Environment Management Council (Nemc) to arrest the suspect and forcefully return the unwanted products back to his country at his own expenses.
“The information on my desk say, Kessy has imported more than 500 containers since 2019 as raw materials for establishing a factory but I have not seen it. Is he really an investor? I don’t agree with this kind of investment,” Jafo said.
Mr Jafo urged the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and Nemc to carefully inspect and assure the quality of the goods within the imported consignments to avoid the country becoming a dumping site of the expired goods which endangering the health of people.
The Minister Jafo ordered the Nemc to conduct a deep inspection and provide a report within three days to other containers in the port, particularly on fertilizers and pesticides.
He either issued 10 days for individuals with expired products to surrender, before Nemc conducted the inspections in dry ports. NEMC Director General, Dr Samuel Gwamaka, said it is sad to see the country becoming the dumpsite of the imported garbage, advising the citizens to support the fight against the importation of the expired goods. “I strongly urge you (people) to be the guards of each other. Whenever you see someone is importing those expired products, report it to the police or Nemc,” he said.
TPA Director General, Erick Benedict assured the minister to abide by his order of ensuring the 500 containers are going back from where they came from.