About 59 percent of the industries in the country do not have wastewater treatment facilities, posing a threat to the health of nearby residents and the environment in general, it has been revealed.
According to a report done recently by the Ministry of Industries and Trade, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) because 80 per cent of the industries are located urban areas, the residents suffer from the resultant pollution.
The report was derived from the annual survey of industrial production and performance whose overall objective was to assess the performance of industrial sector for 2008/09.
The specific objective of the report was to explore information on the economic characteristics of the country’s industrial sector for management, policy makers and the private sector in planning, policy formulation/review, monitoring and evaluation of Government programmes aimed at improving the sector.
More than 1,000 industries were visited during the survey which was done by officials of the Ministry in collaboration with NBS and CTI in all 21 regions in Tanzania Mainland.
Despite the current awareness the report said most industries do not have treatment facilities for their effluents, and the few which exist are poorly maintained or are not operational due to technical and financial constraints.
“This has resulted in environmental pollution through discharges of waste into air, rivers, ocean and lakes either treated or poorly treated,” the report said.
While the Environment Management Act is in place, sound strategies are therefore, urgently needed to be implemented by sector-specific stakeholders to rescue the situation.
Since some of the industries are situated around human settlements and produce wastes that have chemicals, the report recommends that all industries be compelled to install wastewater facilities to protect people and environment.
The Tanzanian manufacturing sector has in the 2000s, registered a steady growth, averaging annual growth of 7.2 percent between 2000 and 2008.
Most industrial activities have concentrated on manufacture of simple consumer goods such as food, beverages, tobacco, textiles, furniture and wood allied products.
Most of the present industries were established under the light of import substitution strategy, whereas production focused in substituting previously imported goods in view of savings.
According to renowned researcher Dr Haji Semboja the contribution of manufacturing industry to the economy has been steady during the last 5 years.
The share of manufacturing industry in GDP increased from 8.5 percent during the 2000-04 periods to 9.4 percent in 2008.
He said the recent increase in production has been mainly a result of either expanding divested or privatized enterprises and establishment of new private sector industries.