Poor and inadequate waste disposal is a problem that seems to be getting worse with Tanzania’s rapid urbanisation and population growth. People still discard waste virtually anywhere and everywhere.
Entertaining garbage, we should know by now, is an invitation to deadly diseases such as cholera. Indeed, cholera has for many years been almost a permanent fixture in Dar es Salaam, which happens to be Tanzania’s commercial capital and richest region.
The rules and regulations on waste disposal in urban areas are clear, at least to government authorities, yet these are hardly ever seriously enforced.
It is incredible that our local administrators, whose offices and residences are usually located in the communities they administer, cannot ensure that every household has a dustbin or some other garbage disposal system.
Instead of using the services of the lorries that collect garbage weekly, some urban residents prefer freelance collectors who pick up garbage from one household and dump it at the doorstep of a neighbour when they think no one is watching.
As if messing up the environment in our cities and towns is not bad enough, rural areas also face the same problem, if not worse. In Mwanza Region, for instance, residents of a certain village have been accused of converting River Mirongo into a dumpsite for everything they cannot readily get rid of.
We have also witnessed wanton tree felling countrywide. This has led to catchment areas drying up and reducing rivers into streams. By clogging the few permanent rivers that remain, we are putting our very own survival on the line.
Environmental protection laws are basically sufficient, and there is no need to make them any tougher. Rather, more awareness and community involvement is this matter is needed.
Community leaders, students and other members of the public should be sensitised to appreciate that, by protecting the environment, they are in essence be protecting their own existence.
PROMOTE LAKE VICTORIA TOURISM
When one talks about tourism in Tanzania, the first things that come to mind are the incomparable Serengeti National Park, Zanzibar’s pristine beaches and the imposing Mount Kilimanjaro. Few people, if any, think of Lake Victoria as a tourist attraction despite the vast tourism potential of the third largest fresh water lake in the world and surrounding areas.
For starters, the lake is endowed with a variety of fish species. They include the tilapia, sangara, furu, ningu, nembe, mbumi and the richly delicious kamongo.
Tourists and traders could be enticed to visit Mwanza City to view the enchanting waters and the magnificent afternoon waves in boat rides. They could sample the fish cooked, fried or charcoal-roasted. And getting to the lakeside city need is easy by air, train, tour van or regular bus service.
They could also earn more revenue for Mwanza, which is popularly known as the “Rock City” for the many boulders beautifying its hilltops. There is also an animal sanctuary on Saanane Island, which is a few minutes’ boat ride from the city. With its variety of birds and animals, it could be a great attraction and a money-spinner.
Lake Victoria’s tourism is a revenue spinner waiting to be harnessed.