Study reveals measures to climate change in Chalinze

10Oct 2019
Gerald Kitabu
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Study reveals measures to climate change in Chalinze

A recent study on Vulnerability Impact Assessment to climate change conducted in Chalinze district, Coastal region has revealed significant impacts related to extreme weather and climate events. Among the revealed impacts includes prolonged droughts, floods and strong wind, which are projected-

- to increase in frequency and magnitude.

The nine (9) months study conducted by E-Link Consult Ltd, supported by SERVIR project through USAID, has revealed increased temperature and decreased rainfall in the district. Communities in this area are highly vulnerable because they depend on agriculture and livestock keeping as their main economic activities. Climate change has significantly impact on food production; infrastructure maintenance such as roads and bridges; pose health risks hence, posing a big risk to poverty reduction efforts in various parts of the district. This may undo decades of development efforts of the government and the local government authorities in particular.

The Director of E-Link Consult, Shukuru Nyagawa said that vulnerability impact assessment is an important process to reveal the impacts of climate change, and identifying hotspot areas, which leads to more thoughtful and informed decision-making process in formulating area specific appropriate adaptation measures.

The project coordinator Abdallah Henku explained that this study applied both primary and secondary data, including quantitative and qualitative respectively. Quantitative secondary data were gathered from various sources including NBS and TMA at the national level, and UNEP, RCMRD, FEWSNET, UNFCCD, JRC and Landsat or Sentinel at international level, while the qualitative data were gathered during stakeholder’s meeting held in the district level.

Data collection was strategically done to ensure that the three main Vulnerability Impacts Assessment components of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity were properly determined, as per the Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methodology. Each vulnerability component has a number of specific data layers. Programming language was used to assign indicator codes to specific data layers. The analysis involved converting all the original (raw) spatial data layers into grids, inverting indicators, assigning weights to various indicators, rescaling of indicators and development of vulnerability map.

In respect to the three assessment components of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity the results showed that; the central parts of Chalinze District Council had highest exposure to the associated climate change impacts. Specifically Kimange, Msata, Talawanda and Miono wards fell under this category. The findings indicates that, the most sensitive areas are Msata and Ubenazomozi wards and some villages in Talawanda, Pera, Vigwaza and Mkange wards and finally two wards of Bwilingu and Mandera had high adaptive capacity compared to the rest.

The overall vulnerability was determined through averaging of the rescaled values from exposure, sensitivity, and lack of adaptive capacity indicators. The Overall vulnerability assessment indicates that Talawanda and Kimange wards were the most vulnerable wards. This vulnerability assessment and hotspot mapping is an essential exercise for implementation of informed project interventions such as climate change adaptation intervention, and can be used as a resources mobilization tool when engaging various development partner across scales and levels in Chalinze District Council.

District Officers Capacity building site visits

The Vulnerability Impact Assessment (VIA) project provided opportunity for the Chalinze District Officers to be capacitated with climate change adaptation knowledge and concepts. Among them was the natural resource officer, land officer, agricultural officer, environmental officer just to name a few. This opportunity was to link the findings of the VIA report prepared under this project and the climate change concepts. This capacity building and awareness raising study visits were done at the end of August this year at Kaloleni village, Ubenazomozi village, Lugoba village, Ruvu river and Wami river. The main sectors looked at were Livestock keeping, Water resources, Settlement, Sand and gravel mining, Agriculture, and Livelihood activities.

Agriculture:

The study revealed that, Chalinze district council depends mainly on rain-fed agriculture with very small percentage of farmers engaged in irrigation. According to the district agriculture officer, the district has been experiencing decrease in rainfall and increased drought. It was added that the district has been experiencing variability in rainfall distribution, such that the onset and ending of rainfall are unpredictable. Moreover, this sector has been invaded with crop diseases, which are difficult to cure with the regular agricultural herbicides. On the other hand, on the low lands of Wami and Ruvu river basins, frequent flooding have caused destruction of agricultural crops and related infrastructures. These have impacted crop growth and productivity, leading into shortage of food and hunger among the communities. It was further mentioned that, Miono Ward was among the areas experiencing shortage of food due to prolonged drought and unpredictable rainfall.

Forests

During the visit, it was noted that most of the forests in Chalinze district are degraded due to human activities such as charcoal burning, encroachment for agriculture (farming and livestock keeping) and settlement. The district natural resource officer Mr. Revocatus Samwel explained that the district has been facing with decreased rainfall and increased droughts due to decreased vegetation cover such as forests. Most of the areas that were covered by forests in the past have been converted to other land uses.  It was acknowledged that failure to conserve forests would lead to more climate change related challenges in the future.

Water

Regarding the water sector, climate change impacts affected water sector in different angles. It was noted that most of the water sources that existed in the past has disappeared, while some of those that still exist are faced with decreased water flow. The main reasons to these challenges were increased drought, decreased rainfall, increased invasive species in water catchments, unplanned settlement, lack of land use plans and poor adherence to enforcement of legal frameworks such as water and environmental laws and policies.

Livestock

The villagers reported that increased drought and decreased rainfall have impacted negatively the livestock sector. The quality of pasture and animal productivity have decreased, contributing to increased conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers; decreased household income, abandonment of families especially leaving behind women and children; increased land destruction due to overgrazing and general decrease of district economy.

Land

Land is both a source and a sink of greenhouse gases (GHS) and plays a key role in the exchange of energy and water between the land surface and atmosphere. Land ecosystems and biodiversity are vulnerable to the ongoing climate change impacts. Multiple stressors on land such as agricultural activities, unplanned settlements, poor livestock keeping, deforestation, mining, floods and droughts contribute to land degradation. Furthermore, it has been noted that most of the areas in the district are now experiencing increased gully erosion, which threatens existence of infrastructures such as roads and bridges. With many being attributed to unpredictable rainfall as a result of climate change.

Mining:

Sand and gravel mining in Chalinze district council are some of the major economic activities. Gravel and sand, which are used for construction projects in various levels, are reported to be the major source of income in the district.  The study visit revealed that mining activities in the area contributes to degradation of the environment which may hamper adaptation strategies and be source of emission.  Mining activities, which include sand and gravel quarries involves use of machinery, which uses fossil fuels, attracts population increase, resulting into unplanned settlements. Such a scenario makes the community around the mining areas to be at risk of accessing safe water, reliable energy and food security. Increased impacts of climate change exacerbate the vulnerability of these communities. Participants further noted that increased floods impact the mining activities as the open pits (the quarry) are filled with water, restricting operations.

Flooding on the abandoned quarries poses health risks by percolation of unsafe water to underground sources and be source accidents. This risk of contaminating underground water is caused by lack of proper water treatment procedures at the mining sites.  Dirty and contaminated water ponds where observed in areas where land reclamation has not yet been done and sand mining operations have stopped.  Participants recommended that proper environmental and land management strategies need to be developed and operationalized in areas where mining activities are done, so as to restore the natural vegetation which increases CO2 sinks, thus contributing to national mitigation efforts. There are a lot of land degradation and air pollution going on, which posses health risks to communities living around the mines

“Changes in the climate have direct effect to our operations because we depend on the functional and liable supply systems such as water, energy, food and human resource. Recently we have been facing with prolonged droughts and unpredictable rainfall which affected our operations and increase costs for maintaining our machinery and other resources,” According to the site manager of the Highland estate Ltd, Nasir Nurdin

The district Officers said most of the mining companies operating in the district have limited awareness and capacity to respond to challenges related to climate change. It was reported that there has never been any forum or meeting organized by or with the investors (private sectors) to discuss any issues related to climate change to what they are doing. It is important that forum is formulated and encourages investors to support adaptation activities within the district. 

The study further revealed that, there a lot of land degradation and air pollution related activities going on around the district, which posse’s health risks to communities living around the mines. There is also a risk of contaminating underground water due to lack of proper water treatment procedures at the mining sites.  It was observed that there dirty and contaminated water ponds in areas where land reclamation has not yet been done and sand mining operations have stopped.  Unfortunately, the linkage between local government and central government agencies such as the National Environmental Management Council - NEMC was a challenge. It was pointed out that, most of the companies report directly to the central government designated bodies rather than the district council. This being the case, the district officers face challenges in monitoring the mining sites.

It was therefore recommended that, there is need to develop and operationalize proper environmental and land management strategies in areas where mining activities are done, to help restore the natural vegetation as Carbon dioxide (CO2) sinks, thus contributing to national mitigation efforts and adaptation efforts.