Climate-Change-3ldfauBy Syriacus Buguzi

The government has recently said yesterdayit is going close down fuel stations, mines and high rise buildings whose owners don’t possess valid environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificates.

The Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office for Union Affairs and Environment, Mr January Makamba, issued a two-month ultimatum to owners of the targeted firms and buildings to report to the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) for audits or risk leagal action.

“We (the government) will also not hesitate to punish owners of these investments who haven’t paid environment levies as per the Environment Act of 2004, Article 230(2) (b),” he added.

Speaking ahead of the World Environment Day due next week, Mr Makamba reminded importers, manufacturers and users of plastic bags to start looking for alternative ways of packaging products ahead of the imminent ban of plastic bags. Among those targeted in the total ban on plastics bags are distillers who package hard liquor in plastic sachets. “This ban will only spare those who make plastic bags for export,” he noted.

Mr Makamba said the government is determined to ensure that citizens protect the environment, warning that without such concerted efforts, 61 per cent of Tanzania’s land is at a risk of turning into a desert.

He told reporters in Dar es Salaam that the government has set a budget of over Sh105 billion for financing a five-year environmental protection plan. “As a starting point, we have already rolled out Sh2 billion for this project and by the end of the next financial year, we expect to have obtained around Sh100 billion for the entire project,” he added.

At the heart of the strategy is the planting of trees on 100,000 acres of land annually over 17 consecutive years–a development that kicks off early next year.

The Environment minister also revealed plans to make tree-planting a requirement for companies seeking business licences in Tanzania. “The government will make it compulsory for companies seeking business licences to declare they would plant trees on theirs premises,” he said.

 

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