ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS IN TANZANIA


 By Bazilius Emmanuel – Art in Tanzania internship

Introduction

Environment is a famous word in current days, as it used to refer to different settings, ranging from local to international ones. The origin of term environment is from the French word “environed “which means surroundings, so people may use environment to refer to everything found in a certain location.

 -Also, in geography some words like nature, habitat, domain and surrounding are used as synonym of the term environment.

Meaning of environment

Our environment is the set of complex physical, chemical and biological elements, conditions and factors that affects an organism and determines its form of survival. It is comprising of all surroundings in which an organism lives and interacts with living things and non-living materials like water and air.

 -The environment is dynamic depending on interaction of living organisms with non-living materials. Also, the environment is regarded as the sum of total conditions surrounded human beings at a certain time and space.

Natural resources are derived from the environment, So the interaction between human beings and other living organisms has more to do with the environment(which can be good or bad for the sustainability of the environment)

N.B The interaction on the earth is what creates the environment, and environmental interactions are continuous. See the diagram below:

Components of the environment

From above explanation you can see that everything surrounding human beings in a particular time and space is a component of our environment. But geographers have tried to categorize all these environmental components into three, which are;

   (a) Physical components, includes all naturally occurring environmental elements like air, water, mountains etc. 

   (b) Biological components i.e., abiotic and biotic components, including all living and non-living things. See diagram below;

    ( c) Cultural components, includes all man-made parts of the environment such as buildings, population, farms etc. 

Diagram shows the three environment components;

IMPORTANCE OF THE ENVIRONMENT

Our environment has a vital role to our daily survival. The environment plays an important role in the survival of all living things by:

  (a) Supporting agriculture for food production•Climate and soil are essential during farming

  (b) Temperature modification and climatic change control•The presence of trees and water bodies are essential for temperature regulation, also good agricultural practices have a lot to do with controlling climatic change.

    (cNatural resources are derived from the environment.•Resources like medicine, air, water and minerals are essential human needs obtained from natural resources derived by the environment.

    (d) Minimize and or prevent disasters•swamps and marshes act as reservoirs of more water which may lead to flood, also air and plants absorb much gases emitted from human activities which will have more contribution to global warming.

(e) Absorption of our pollutants•Environmental components like air, land and water absorb pollutants, such as poisons, radiations and chemicals which effects our healthy survival. 

(f) Food web and food chain advantage•All food is obtained from environmental components, so without the environment there is no potential for life. 

  (g) Disease preventionEnvironmental components like air, water and minerals are required by the human body for proper growth and rescue our bodies from different diseases. E.g., the use of table salt decreases the chances for disease like goitre.

So, We can conclude by saying, the environment gives us life. 

See the diagram as it shows how living organisms interact with environmental components.

It shows the mutual benefit in the ecosystem.

 TANZANIAN ENVIRONMENT

The environment of Tanzania includes its’ land and marine surfaces which covers approximately kilometer squares 947.303. That also includes its’ natural resources endowment found in Tanzania mainland and Tanzanian Islands.

As our discussion focuses on the environment in Tanzania,  we need also to get insights about different things which form the whole environment of Tanzania.

Below are major components of Tanzania’s environment including its’ natural resources:

(a) Population, which is approximated at 56. 3 million by 2018

(b) Water bodies, which covers 6.49% of whole Tanzania land. These water bodies include;

   (i) Some part of Indian ocean

   (ii) More than 20 lakes include Victoria, Tanganyika, Nyasa, Rukwa and Natron among others.

       (iii) More than 75 rivers include Kagera, Malagalasi;Pangani, Wami, Rufiji, Ruvuma, Tarangire and  Songwe

       (iv) Natural ponds and artificial lakes

  (c) Seven World Heritage Sites (as per UNESCO) which are: Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, Kondoa Rock Art Site, Stone Town of Zanzibar, kilimanjaro National Park, Selous Game Reserve and Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara

  (d) Sixteen National Parks including lake ManyaraNational park, Ruaha National Park and Serengeti National Park

  (e) Seven Historical Sites includes Kilwa Kisiwani, Mbozimeteorite and Olduvai Gorge & Laetoli among others

(f) Islands includes Saanane island National Park, Zanzibar island, Pangani town and Ukerewe island

  (g) Marine Parks and Reserves like Chumbe island Marine Sanctuary, Dar es Salaam Marine Reserves and Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park among others

  (h) Wildlife Management Areas which includes IpoleWMA, Mbomipa WMA and Buninge WMA among others

  (i) Cave, Gorges and Rocks like Amboni cave, Kalambofalls, Nyombe region, Nyumba Nitu Natural forests and Kaporogwe falls

  (j)Twelve Tanzania Forest Reserves 

  (k)Thirty two Game Reserves 

  (l)More than two thousand mountains and highlands includes mount Meru and Kilimanjaro among others

  (m)More than twenty mines includes Geita Gold Mine(GGM-Geita), Bulyakulu & Mwadui (Shinyanga) and Kabanga Nickel(Kagera)

(n) More than five famous and important Cities and Towns includes Mwanza( Rock City), Arusha (Tourist City), Mbeya(Green City) and Dar es Salaam (island City) among others

  (o)Biological diversity includes  more than 75 endemic species like Kihansi Tod and horned chameleon

 (p) Agricultural land and rangelands

From above it seen how Tanzania’s environment is endowed with ample valuable natural and man-made resources. 

Tanzania’s environment is engine for sustainable development for Tanzania and the World at large. While Tanzania is blessed with more natural and man-maderesources that are distributed throughout the Country, the friendly and sustainability exploitation of these resources can be advantageous to Tanzanians.

Furthermore, We are born to create a better future. We need to use our environment and its’ God given resources for sustainable development.

See the following maps:

Tanzania Lakes and Rivers:

Locations of the major national parks

MAJOR ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH ENVIRONMENT IN TANZANIA

These issues are related to unsafe exploitation of above resources. These issues include:

   (a) Illegal and unsustainable wildlife exploitation

   (b) Overgrazing and unsustainable range management

   (c) Poor agriculture practices like bush burning, vertical ploughing across steep slopes, failure to adopt crop rotation, failure to maintain adequate vegetative cover, inadequate use of organic fertilizer and lack of sufficient conservation measures

   (d) Land conflicts

(e)Poor mining techniques

(f)Climatic change includes melting of ice at mount Kilimanjaro and fall of water depth at Ruaha river

(g)Major Six environmental problems in Tanzania which are;

   (i)Land degradation

  (ii)Lack of accessible good quality water for both urban and rural inhabitants

    (iii) Environment pollution

    (iv) Deforestation

   (v) Deterioration of aquatic systems

   (vi) Loss of wildlife habitats and biological diversity

   -The joint measure is required to be taken from local,

 National and International levels to remove or reduce the above harmful issues relating to resource use for sustainable and inclusive development of Tanzania and the world at large.

REASONS FOR ENVIRONMENT CONCERN IN TANZANIA

From above circumstances it is clear how much Tanzania needs to have strong environmental concern which shall focus on eliminating the negative impacts on Tanzanians from endowed natural resources

The reasons for environment concern in Tanzania include the follow but not limited to:

    (a) Despite 55% of Tanzania’s land is potential for agriculture but only 6% of Tanzania total land is under agricultural activities. So, Tanzania and the world at large are needed to set strategies to enhance and expand agricultural activities in Tanzania. (b) With more natural and artificial resources Tanzania is still depend on agriculture, which accounts more than 40% of Tanzania GDP and employs more than 75% of Tanzania workforce

  (c) Energy use of power, although Tanzania is endowed with much fossil fuels, waterfalls and rapids, more than 90% of Tanzania depend on forest related materials as their source of energy.

  (d) Population distribution, with 47.7 kilometers squares population density, but by actual sense Tanzania population is unequal distribution where there are disparities in internal population densities  between urban and rural areas as result of rural-urban migration associated with unequal distribution of man-made resources. 

-Also, more people are living in highland areas and interacting regions like near lake Victoria, therefore government of Tanzania needs to deal with this environmental issue

  (e) Also, from the major six environmental problems affecting Tanzania, the environmental solutions are required to rescue Tanzania’s environment from other disasters that may arise as result of those six environmental problems.

Conclusions and remarks

– We are a large cause of environmental dynamism, so our actions must first assess its negative or positive impacts to our environment.

  – As part of dynamic environment, we are supposed to educate ourselves about all issues related to the environment and to take precautions toward any action that might harm our environment.

  – The Government of Tanzania is required to sharpen the implementation of environmental and natural resource related laws, policies and declarations.

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