World Clean-up Day is a global movement of volunteers and partners who came together on September 15th, 2018 to clean up litter and waste from beaches, rivers, forests, and streets. This movement started in Estonia about 10 years ago and slowly spread out to other countries with its slogan Let’s Do It. In Tanzania, World Cleanup Day was organized by Nipe Fagio, a public advocacy NGO, in collaboration with other organizations.
CYNESA Tanzania members, Eliachi Manga, Dennis Ruhinda and Country Director Dessydery Mosses joined events in Kilimanjaro, Tanga and Dar es Salaam.
In Dar es Salaam, CYNESA Tanzania Country Director, Dessydery Mosses, joined volunteers at the Shekilango Sokoni cleaning site. Located along Morogoro road highway, Shekilango Sokoni is a market place, where small businesses selling food products are located. During the clean-up Dessydery observed that waste from the market washes into the water channel which runs behind the market. Dessydery says that according to an area resident, Ms. Mwajuma Mganga, a ban on the use of water from the channel is in place as a result of pollution. They were advised to dig small water wells in their gardens, in order to continue with their irrigation activities. The market chairman was at pains to explain why market vendors continued to pour out dirty water into the water channel, which other residents rely on for irrigation. He however promised to work closely with the ward administration to put a stop to it and invited vendors from the market to join in the clean-up.
In Kilimanjaro, Eliachi Manga joined in clean-up activities in the Rau Forest Reserve, an area bordering a primary and secondary school. Eliachi found out that the area is polluted because students buy food packed in single-use plastic bags, which they threw in the forest once they finished eating. “People living near the forest reserve use it as a dumping site for their waste. As a result, the forest boundary is destroyed and vegetation can no longer grow because of the plastic waste”, says Eliachi. She adds that she took the opportunity to speak with the community members about the dangers posed by plastic waste. “I spoke with the children as well, who showed great eagerness to learn and to contribute to a clean environment and forest boundary”, says the CYNESA Tanzania team member.
At the Deep Sea Fish Market in Tanga, environmental activist and CYNESA Tanzania team member, Dennis Ruhinda, joined fellow earth keepers in a clean-up activity. “Deep Sea is one of the prominent fish markets in the region”, says Dennis, “but the situation there is going from worse to critical, and calls for proper hygiene and sanitation…observing standards for food safety and hygiene.” Dennis adds that communities need to come together more often for such clean-ups, as a way of taking responsibility for a clean environment and strengthening community bonds. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”, says Dennis.
Highlighting the importance of local leadership, Eliachi reports that she seized the opportunity of the presence of the representative of the Regional Commissioner at the event in Kilimanjaro, to explain to him about the situation of the forest. The representative reassured that the matter would be addressed, in concert with the heads of the two schools.
From the event at Shekilango, Dessydery observed that awareness levels in the communities are low. “Despite our presence there for the clean-up exercise, some members of the local community were indifferent and watched from their houses!” He opines that environmental activists have a big role to play to raise awareness and change the mind set of people. “Our leaders, be they faith or political leaders, need to offer guidance in caring for creation, because Mother Earth is groaning under the weight of pollution”, says Dessydery, adding that, “the family has a special role, as it is the first teacher in imparting ecological consciousness, and the necessary lifestyle changes needed to solve the problem.”
Dessydery concludes with a challenge: “We need not wait for the next World Cleanup Day. We must stay vigilant and sustain our efforts at all times.”
Dessydery Mosses, Eliachi Manga and Dennis Ruhinda,