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“We are committed to making Mwanza city clean”

MWANZA city produce over 300 tonnes of domestic solid waste and 220 tonnes of industrial waste every day. Officials say that most of the cleaning in the streets is done by the Community Based Organizations (CBOs.There are more than 15 CBOs that are fully engaged in waste collection across the city. How far has this initiative succeeded? Our Bureau Chief in Mwanza DASSU STEPHEN interviewed the Director of one CBOs known as ‘Chasama’ Mr  Feruzi Mussa: Excerpts…

Q: What is the role of Chasama in Mwanza City?
A:The organization for Mwanza City  environmental conservation, commonly known as Chasama was established in 1996. Its fundamental goal is to create public awareness in cleaning across the city. Most important, however, the organization is   working with other environmental stakeholders under the Private Public Partnership (PPP).These include, the  City Council, local authorities and ordinary people.

Q: What are the organization’s specific functions?
A:As  I pointed before, we have a cardinal task of mobilizing various stakeholders with a view of cleaning the City.Chasama personnel, for example, go through various areas across the City and other garbage collection point to collect garbage .The garbage is finally deposited in a remote area of Buhongwa village dump site in Nyamagana district. That is a place, about 12 kilometers from the City centre, where all the garbage collected from various collection points are deposited.

Q: What do you consider are the major achievements of your CBO?
A: For us, we think that a major achievement so far has been a remarkable participation of all the key stakeholders especially the local authorities in cleaning the city.

Q: Are there any hurdles facing your organization in fulfilling its tasks?
A: Definitely there are many challenges that range from shortage of working equipment and facilities. However, the major challenge is related to the popular perceptions that the task of waste collection or simply cleaning the city solely belongs to the government. I think this predisposition isn’t right at all. It is important for the city dwellers to understand that cleaning the city does not exclusively belong to a few organizations or institutions such as   the  government  and the Community Based Organizations. It is from this background that there is an urgent need to implant more public awareness with a view of making city cleanness a success story, and that means the entire initiative needs to become even more inclusive and participatory in its approach. 

Q: Do you think you have done a satisfactory job, and what can be done to make a cleanness campaign more effective and efficient?
A: No, no, not   at all. We cannot say 100 per cent we have fulfilled our task. There are some nay challenges and more needs to be  done to surmount them. As I said before we need to educate the general public so that environmental conservation and other pertinent matters become part and parcel of peoples’ daily lives. Most important ,however, I think education alone isn’t sufficient, and therefore there is an urgent need for the city authorities to ensure the bylaws regarding the city’s environmental conservation are strictly adhered to.

Q: What do the bylaws say, and what specifically is not being adhered to?
A: The bylaws, for example, prohibit any person to throw waste in unauthorized areas or simply urinating in public places. Such kinds of irresponsive behaviours are not conducive to public good and also prohibited by the city’s bylaws. Thus it is important for relevant authorities to put such bylaws into practises. Whoever is engaged in reckless throwing of garbage should be taken to task.
City’s cleanness status Mwanza city,  whose current population is approximated to be over one million people,  is the second largest city in Tanzania after Dar es Salaam that has a population of about five million people. Observers say the city is strategically located on the southern shores of Lake Victoria.

It receives approximately 700mm and 1000mm of rainfall per annum with two rainy seasons. The short rains occur from August to October and the long season is from December to May, say experts. A bird’s eye view of the  Mwanza city’s main streets, include, Nyerere, Kenyatta, Nkrumah, Posta, Rwegasore Roads and Liberty, Uhuru, Rufiji and Lumumba Streets. Observers say for  the past four consecutive years beginning in 2006 to  2009, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare had  declared Mwanza “The Cleanest City in Tanzania” based on an inter-city cleanliness competition organised by various stakeholders, including the Vice-President’s Office, the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) and a handful other relevant ministries.

The Mwanza City Council had joined the competition in 2000 when it was accorded a city status and therefore emerged 12th winner out of the 13 cities and municipal councils in the country. In 2003, the MCC emerged third winner out of 13 competitors, and in 2004 and 2005 it scooped the second position before being declared the first winner in 2006, a position it retained until 2010. CBOs active players in cleaning the city Officials say that since early 1990s,  most of the cleaning in the streets is done by the  Community Based Organisation (CBOs).

This is being done as part of the  implementation of  the Private Public Partnership (PPP) in steering the national development. The Mwanza City Council authorities have engaged 15 CBOs and two big companies to clean 17 out of the city’s 21 wards. The remaining four wards have not been included in the cleanliness package because they are located in  villages.The wards are Isamilo, Mirongo, Mbugani, Pamba, Nyamagana, Igogo, Mkuyuni, Butimba, Mkolani, Kirumba, Kitangiri, Nyamanoro, Pasiansi, Ilemela, Nyakato, Igoma and parts of Mahina.

Most of the waste from the remaining wards of Bugogwa, Sangabuye, Buswelu and Buhongwa, which are literally villages, are  used as manure.Apart from the services provided by the CBOs and two firms, the MCC boasts of modern working facilities, including two skip loaders, one 12-tonne compactor (truck), one modified tractor for sweeping and loading garbage into the compactor, four side loaders, one excavator and one wheel loader. “A few cities and municipal councils in Tanzania have such facilities that we have bought using our own money,” revealed one official who further explained that the MCC had in 2009/2010 financial year, for instance,  set aside 697,941,740m/-, which is  equivalent to  12.5 per cent of its income for cleanliness.

Statistics show that the MCC spends over 14m/-  each month to pay the CBOs and two other  firms overseeing the city’s cleanliness. “We are proud of being the  clean city,  but we are spending a lot of  money to do the task,” says the health officer. Mwanza city produces 310 tonnes of domestic solid waste and 220 tonnes of industrial waste a day. Officials  say the city council has capacity to collect 272 tonnes of domestic solid waste a day, which amounts to collecting 99,280 tonnes of solid waste a year or 88 per cent collection in a year.

The remaining 12 per cent of solid waste is found in areas which are not accessible by motor vehicles, including rocky hills where 30 per cent of city dwellers reside. Nearly 85 per cent of waste produced in the city is biodegradable and the remaining 15 per cent, such as plastics, rubber, bottles and metals are non-biodegradable. The waste is dumped at Buhongwa dumpsite on the outskirts of the city.

“Our only secret is that we have managed to reduce the number of collection points from 200 to 33 because when you have many collection points along the road they are already garbage.” “A collection point is where refuse collected from an entire ward is dumped. You cannot walk half a kilometre without seeing a refuse collection point along the road,” says one city official, adding that 14 out of the 33 collection points have skip buckets. Another eye-catching feature in the sprawling city of Mwanza is well kept gardens.

“Some of the citiy’s gardens are under the care of our stakeholders …we have engaged them to take care of the gardens through a public-private partnership,” says the city health officer Mr Batare. “There is no doubt that the 310 tonnes of the waste produced are an immense burden to the city authorities,  and this is bound to swell in the next few years in tandem with an increase in the city's population.”The city’s population had since 2002 been increasing at an average of 19,520 people annually, which was equivalent to 3.2 per cent, according to the 2002 census.

over 7 years ago