Speaking in Dar e Salaam during stakeholders’ meeting on Urban outreach for the protection of social-economic and environmental rights facing women, youth, girls, and the general public (urbanites) through legal empowerment strategies, they said lack of environmental tribunals has diminished opportunities for aggrieved stakeholders to table their concerns to the tribunal which according to EMA is the appellate jurisdiction.
The meeting was organised and conducted in Dar es Salaam by Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT).
Environmental Health Officer at Kinondoni Municipal Council Dioniz Mulindwa explained that the Environmental Appeals Tribunal would help to fast track important cases such as environmental polluters who are on the increase.
“For this Urban outreach for the protection of social-economic and environmental rights to effectively work out, we would like to remind the government that there is a need to urgently revive this tribunal, he said.
It should be noted that the Environmental Management Act No 20, of 2004, through section 204 established the Environmental Appeals Tribunal. Respectively sections 205 to 212 stipulate provisions on source of fund of the tribunal, jurisdiction of the tribunal, proceeding of tribunal, awards of the tribunal, appeals to high court, immunity of members of the tribunal, remuneration of members of tribunal and the appointment of the Registrar.
Health Officer Evarist Shio from Kinondoni Municipal Council explained that for Dar es Salaam residents to live in clean environment, the government must enforce laws governing the environment.
“Our laws are good but they are lacking enforcement. There is laxity and that’s why environmental polluters, especially in urban areas and big cities are on the increase. Sometimes when taken to these normal courts, the environment polluters are normally set free, they are left to walk free without heavy punishment. This discourages some committed government officials implementing cleanliness activities,” he said.
It should also be noted that the tribunal is not a new thing. There are other countries with environmental courts and tribunals. South Wales, Australia, Land and Environment Court, India’s National Green Tribunal and the Environmental Courts of Kenya – are outstanding examples of such courts and tribunals.
Kinondoni Street Executive officer Rahma Tagalile called on the government to conduct land use plan to stop mushrooming of squatters in urban areas and big Cities.
“It is very difficult to conduct fruitful cleanliness operation in unplanned settlements. Installment of sanitation facilities and services are also difficult. Unless these squatters stopped, this cleanliness work will be difficult in some areas,” she said.
Sakina Jumanne said there is a need for education campaigns and creating awareness to all Dar es Salaam residents and executives so that they can speak the same language.
Forest Officer from Kinondoni Municipal Council Paschal Lameck called on the government to supervise properly the exercise of planting trees. He said several times, big tree planting campaigns and programmes are launched in rural, urban and in big cities but they end up bearing no desired fruit due to lack of proper management plan and supervision.
The “Urban outreach for the protection of social-economic and environmental rights facing women, youth, girls, and the general public (urbanites) through legal empowerment strategies in Dar es Salaam” is a two-year project implemented by LEAT in the five municipalities of Dar es Salaam region. The project is funded by the Legal Services Facility (LSF), an independent, not-for-profit non-governmental organisation that strives to increase access to justice for all, in particular for women.
According to Project coordinator from LEAT Paul Warioba, this project aims to legally empower urbanites living in Dar es Salaam and also poor urban communities and their rights to live in a clean environment.
It also aims at strengthening capacities of urban authorities in enforcement of environmental laws and regulations. Among many, the project runs action oriented meetings with environmental stakeholders, raises community awareness through the use of radio, television, films and social media.
He said the project also conducts dialogues, and offers free legal aid to those facing injustices in the environment sphere. So far, the project has run debates in different municipalities with the aim of addressing environmental challenges that diminish chances for individuals to access justice. As the wave of techno-savvy individuals is increasing the project has also developed the Mazingira App which is available to Android users through Play Store.
Explaining activities conducted in Dar es Salaam, Warioba said that there are a series of planned activities structured to bring together key environmental stakeholders responsible for the management of the environment in Kinondoni. Usually the activities bring together 60 men and women or more. These are the environmental stakeholders representing Kinondoni, Ilala, and Temeke councils and wards. Also in the list are Ward Executive Officers (WEOs), Health Officers, auxiliary police, market representatives, and environmental officers to deliberate on environmental issues.
LEAT normally use the meeting as a platform to demonstrate solutions at regional scale that enhance urban outreach for the protection of social-economic and environmental rights, secure buy-in of regional stakeholders in the implementation of the two-year urban outreach for the protection of social-economic and environmental rights.
Obtain commitment and understanding for maintaining clean public spaces; and ensure local government internal communication and procedures are effective in the management of clean public places.