In Tanzania, it is estimated that the quantity of municipal solid waste generated amounts to more than 10,000 tonnes per day. However, nearly 50 percent ends up disposed through the local methods of burning or burying. By year 2015, it was estimated that, of the total population, each person was producing an average solid waste of about 0.5 kg to 0.8 kg per day. What we do with the waste we produce in our daily activities, is now the worlds’ biggest headache.

 

Littering is a deliberate act,

Littering is amongst the leading contributor to urban waste problems. What irks the most is the fact that; the majority of littering happens intentionally. People find it completely normal to throw away cigarette butts, food wrappers and disposables. As a result, most of this rubbish swiftly ends up in our water bodies. What is this doing to our planet? Simply put, destroying it.

There can be several arguments as to why people litters, which includes the prevalence of existing waste and the absence of collection equipment’s, but the truth still stands, 85% of littering is mostly a deliberate act.  When pressed with severe repercussions and penalties, human beings tend to do the right thing, they stop littering. Also, those who grow up in a disposable society have a tendency to end up disposing, and vice versa.

“Usitupe taka hapa” is now a joke

It is annoying to see signs like “Usitupe takataka hapa” in areas full of debris. No one really cares. It feels like the campaigns have fallen to deaf ears. Either the one installing the signs are not authoritative enough or the litters just find them too common to obey. That is where we are as a society. It is becoming clear that the reason most people litter is not because they think it’s OK, but because they think it’s the easier thing to do. They know it is wrong, but they do it because it’s easy.

Say no to noise pollution,

For most people in big cities like Dar es salaam, noise pollution is supposed to be a “normal” everyday phenomenal. That, it is normal for the local pub next door, to host live music till late hours. That is normal for our neighborhoods to become hubs of uncontrolled sounds and blares. People in this city seems to have decided to soldier on like it’s part of the “urban” lifestyle.

NO, it is not normal, and it shouldn’t be allowed to be. Though the impacts and adverse effects of noise pollution cannot be immediately felt, there is a big chance of ending up with health effects such as loss of hearing ability, birth complications, and even high Blood Pressure.

It is a collective effort,

As a society, we need to get serious in highlighting collective social disapproval against littering and other forms of pollutions. The fact that no one dares to litter around the c0ntrolled areas such as army and law enforcers barracks, tells us all we need to know, about the need for changed behaviors.

If one can be conscious enough not to litter in certain areas fearing repercussions and consequences, one can be mindful enough to not litter at all. Let’s apply stringent rules to get tough against these unacceptable behaviors.

Also, there is no shame for our city lords to borrow a leaf from other cities like Kigali in Rwanda and Moshi. Apart from stringent littering conventions in the case of Moshi, Kigali has a special cleaning program, every Saturday morning, where everyone is compelled to participate in cleaning activities around their neighborhoods. This has worked out remarkably.

We should all remember that we have no Planet B. Might as well take good care of the one we have.

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By Godwin Semunyu

Tanzania is entering eight weeks of intense political campaigns towards the October 28th General election. This is the time that politics become the most dominant subject. From the corporate offices to worshiping houses to the Bars, no one is spared of the political heat. Friends turn to nemesis; couples argue over a candidate. The youths lose their minds. The law-enforcers are on high time alert, the anti-Corruption fellas know no nights of sleep.

Jenerali Ulimwengu, one of my all-time favorite authors, calls this period; “Poll madness”. Indeed, it is.

With days and nights of political driven media coverage, long hours of campaign rallies, and impulsive generosity from the fellas you hardly know, brace yourself for a long bumpy ride. Get ready for “perfect strangers” who will take the Santa role offering “gifts” of t-shirts, khanga, caps, and badges. Contrary to the real Santa though, these particular gifts will be carrying one dominant message; “Vote for me”.

Some will promise you a supersonic trip to the land of milk and honey. “You deserve to live like Kings and Queens” they will tell you, “Vote for me and progress” they will swiftly remind you. No stone will be left unturned.

You have heard of these same stories before and told yourself never again you will fall into the trap. But they will come again and you will listen. With their brilliance oratory prowess, persuasion, and sudden generosity will make you doubt yourself for doubting them.

Not long ago, one popular politician promised to bring about rainmaking technology, to help out during the drought seasons. In vain. Such is life!

However, after all the dust has finally settled and the last cow is home safe, three things will abound; A cheerful winner, a sore loser, and You.

As a schoolboy in Morogoro, I had my first stint of the wrath of a political campaign gone bad. Somehow, I ended up in bandwagon of pushing around town the vehicle carrying an opposition candidate. The men in uniforms were not particularly pleased. The attempts to stop us fell into deaf ears. We were to hyped to care. Well, a lot happened that evening. Luckily, I left unscathed.

However, not many people got lucky. The panic caused by the unleashed tear- gas bombs led to a stampede, and as a result, many were injured while a handful ended up with permanent disabilities. Meanwhile, the candidate had mysteriously vanished from the scene. That’s another story altogether. Fast forward, he has since joined the same party that he “hated” so much. The party that he persuaded people to risk it all, to oust.

Africa has experienced enough Post-election mayhem; it has become a norm. While it is true that some of the confusions are sectorial. A fair share is also caused by sore losing politicians. From Zimbabwe (2008), Nigeria (2007), Lesotho (2007), the Democratic Republic of Congo (2006), Togo (2005), and Guinea Bissau (2008), It has been detailed that more than half of all elections in Africa experience some form of violence or intimidation either before or after election day.

In East Africa, neighboring country of Kenya went into turmoil in 2007 and 2017 over disputed election results. Zanzibar was into unrest after-2005 election. Earlier this year, Malawi narrowly dodged a bullet, thanks to a candid Electoral Court that was honest enough to call a spade a spade by overturning the grieved election results.

The scars that are brought by all this madness trickles-down to individuals and households. The politician you idolize, to the extent of despising your next-door neighbors, will soon be gone. But the next-door neighbor will remain your next-door neighbor. It will be the same next-door house that your kids go to play.

Let’s practice modesty. We don’t have to get physical or lose empathy just to prove a point. “Argue, don’t shout” Mwalimu Nyerere once said.

Let’s agree to disagree. As the great Chinua Achebe once said; “He who holds his brother down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.” If you believe that being an opposing follower is a sin, at least keep it to yourself. Similarly, if you think supporting the ruling party is a sin, don’t rub it on their faces.

It is important to remember that after October 28th, there will still be life to be lived. Let your vote be louder than your disruptive online comments and hate speeches. The Internet never forgets! Let your vote do the talking.

For comments: gsemunyu@epicpr.co.tz

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