Tanzania, World Bank launch renewed drive to make Dar greener

Dar es Salaam is one of fastest growing cities in Africa. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • The government has asserted its commitment to making the city of Dar es Salaam more resilient to climate change as part of the programme of incorporating greening infrastructure in fast-growing urban centres

Dar es Salaam. The government of Tanzania has asserted its commitment to making the city of Dar es Salaam more resilient to climate change, particularly through incorporating greening infrastructure to its fast-growing urban centres.

The President’s Office--Regional Administration and Local Government (Poralg) said the city was increasingly becoming vulnerable to impacts of climate change as it loses around 10 percent of its tree cover every year.

Speaking yesterday in the city, Poralg’s deputy permanent secretary Charles Msonde said currently only 2 percent of Dar es Salaam’s total area was designated as public green space with only 0.1 percent designated as a park.

Dr Msonde was opening a two-day workshop under the theme: ‘Greening Infrastructure for Dar es Salaam’ organised by the World Bank (WB) and the Dar es Salaam Metropolitan Development Project (DMDP).

“In terms of efforts to improve the quality of life of its urban citizens, the government is looking at greening as one of the avenues of achieving climate resilience of its cities,” he said.

As the city remains with fewer public and green spaces, the deputy PS also revealed that for Dar es Salaam, projections are that--by 2040 the city will see more than the current 36 very hot afternoons (above 34.6°C) and 100–200 very hot nights (above 24.5°C) annually.

“This is why one of the most crucial things we can do to improve the health of the environment is to plant trees. The benefits of trees extends both globally and locally, enhancing our quality of life. In cities, trees clean the air by removing dangerous pollutants,” he said.

In addition to aid in water filtration and management, reducing flooding and preserving watersheds, Dr Msonde said: “By insulating residences and workplaces from highways and industrial zones, they (trees) also lessen noise pollution.”

In the programme to upgrade open spaces, the World Bank has also incorporated the greening initiative through the DMDP that will see support for strengthening green infrastructure, urban and community planning.

The DMDP is an ongoing World Bank’s project of $300 million, co-financed with the Nordic Development Fund.

WB’s country operations manager Preeti Arora said investment to the adaptation of climate change was very critical, as the institution projects that climate change impacts may push over 130 million people globally into poverty come 2030.

“Dar es Salaam is no exception with changes in temperature increasing the number of hot days, and changes in rainfall affecting both flooding and causing water shortages,” she said.

Ms Arora said through the DMDP, the ‘green Dar’ platform would be implemented in order to understand the future of the city and how infrastructure can be adapted to its dynamic growth and the changes in climate.

“Green Dar highlighted that moving forward, infrastructure and urban development in Dar es Salaam can benefit from more green elements to improve resilience to flooding, increasing heat and potential water shortages,” said Ms Arora.

Through the project, she said, DMDP has facilitated the construction of 205 kilometres of road networks, including provision of over 5,000 solar street lights and pedestrian walkways; 59 kilometres of primary and secondary stormwater drains; nine modern markets; and two daladala bus terminals.

The country’s manager also revealed that over the last decade, the World Bank has provided over $1 billion in investments in urban infrastructure in Dar es Salaam and other cities throughout the country.

“Additional financing has also been recently approved through the $278 million TACTIC project that will assist cities throughout Tanzania and the $150 million Big Z project in Zanzibar,” she said.

Other greening initiatives under the project include strengthening local government capacity to implement Green Public Space Development, stakeholders’ awareness campaigns, survey of existing tree/plant nurseries and enhancing their nurturing as well as incorporating greening guidelines in physical works.