Rapid urbanisation and population growth in Tanzania has its many attendant problems, including poor or inadequate waste disposal. People are still discarding waste virtually anywhere and everywhere.
Entertaining garbage, we should all know by now, is inviting deadly diseases such as cholera. Indeed, cholera has for many years been synonymous with Dar es Salaam, which happens to be Tanzania’s commercial capital and richest region.
The rules and regulations governing waste disposal in urban areas are crystal clear, at least to government authorities, yet these are hardly ever seriously enforced.
It is inconceivable 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.
MIDWIVES DESERVE BETTER
Saving the lives of mothers and newborn babies is just another day in the office for midwives, but they remain largely unsung heroines. This is despite most of them executing their life-saving obligations in questionable sanitary conditions.
Granted, the maternal mortality rate has recently dropped significantly due to various reasons, but some age-old challenges, which are otherwise surmountable, are seemingly refusing to go.
Complaints of low pay, lack of incentives and the workload abound – and the Health ministry should earnestly heed the complaints and act accordingly.
Indeed, much has been done to improve midwives’ wellbeing, but there still is the challenge of creating a more motivating working environment, as this would attract and retain midwives in the job.
Needless to say, midwives risk assorted infections when performing their noble duty. The situation is worse for those working in remote areas where healthcare equipment is insufficient, or not available at all. Much as we value midwives’ contribution to saving lives at birth, we nonetheless remind them to stick to ethics and bolster the already good relations between them and expectant mothers.