Air Pollution and Climate Change in Tanzania
In looking at how weather and climate effect Tanzanian society, it is important to emphasize how both increased air pollution and evidence of climate change are of growing concern to Tanzania’s future. A developing nation of roughly 38 million citizens invested in an economy primarily focused on agriculture, Tanzania is at this time unable to handle the growing issues it is facing as they relate to the livelihoods of the majority of its citizens. Prolonged drought has increased the importance of the country’s rainy season, and further amplified the threat of each year’s dry months, which last for the majority of the year. While many of Tanzania’s citizens worry about the lack of federal monitoring and legislation surrounding air pollution and climate change, they are often inadvertently contributing to their own demise as they struggle to survive with antiquated technology and lifestyles in general.
As of September 2007, and as reported in September 2003, the Tanzanian government has no official policies or standards on air pollution that its industries and citizens must follow. Instead, due to a lack of financial and thus technical resources, little has been done to measure and assess the amount of harmful toxins in the air that the general population breathes daily, most especially in its densely populated cities. The Tanzanian government hasn’t sat completely idle however, and in general terms has addressed issues of air pollution in legislation dating back to the 1960s. However, the Merchant Shipping Act (1967), one of the first pieces of legislation mentioned the concept of air pollution, did not do so in a way that concentrated on the significant dangers raised pollution levels could have on the country. Likewise, neither did the Tanzania Bureaus Standard Act (1975) or the Pharmaceuticals and Poisons Act (1978). Yet in founding its Ministry of the Environment, the Tanzanian government has placed emphasis on its country’s future as it pertains to planning for sustainability development, one positive step toward a better tomorrow.
Unfortunately, the independent testing results gathered by APINA, the Air Pollution Information Network-Africa, indicate that in Tanzania’s large cities, most specifically Dodoma and Dar es Salaam are the primary sources of air pollution for the entire country. In fact, it is estimated that fifty-two percent of the total number of motor vehicles registered in the country are driven in Dar es Salaam, where traffic density growth is roughly 6.3% a year, thereby making it one of the most polluted cities in the entire country. The World Health Organization’s maximums for such harmful gases as NO2 and SO2 were surpassed in Dar es Salaam in the year 2003, and today, because of the lack of federal legislation, they are likely even worse, as little has been done since them to reduce them—WHO guidelines state that maximum levels should not exceed 200 g/m2 and 350...