Tanzania: Minister Directs Further Scrutiny of Mara River Contamination Report

THE Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office responsible for Union and Environment, Dr Selemani Jafo, directed a team of experts from his office, the ministry of water and that of livestock and fisheries to go through the findings of the Mara River contamination report and submit expert opinion and it’s implementation plan.

Minister Jafo has reacted to the just released report on the course behind the contamination in Mara River, which brought public uproar in the social media.

The minister issued a directive at a news conference in Dodoma yesterday, where he made clarification on various issues regarding the report.

The report findings released by an 11-member committee at the weekend concluded that animal feces and decomposed invasive weeds were the causes behind the contamination of water in the Mara River.

The head of the team Professor Samwel Manyele from the University of Dar es Salaam’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Minerals said the animal feces, including those of cattle, were swept into the river by heavy rains.

“Decomposed invasive weeds also played part in polluting water in the river that led to a decrease in oxygen in the water, killing acquactic organisms, mostly fishes,” said Prof Manyele.

On March 13, 2020, Dr Jafo formed the team of experts to investigate causes that led to contamination of water in the Mara River after water in the river released foul smell and water resources, including fish, were spotted to have died.

Prof Manyele’ team found out that the river was contaminated by the animal feces and the decomposed invasive weeds from Marasibora village in Rorya District down to Wegero village in Butiama District following the heavy downpour.

The Mara River basin covers a surface of 13,504 sq km, of which about 65 percent is located in Kenya and 35 percent in Tanzania.

At a news conference yesterday, Dr Jafo asked Tanzanians to remain calm as there was no cause for alarm because the role of the government was to protect people’s health

The minister who however did not allow questions from journalists further asked experts from the three ministries to equally translate the report in Kiswahili language so that it can be widely read by majority Tanzanians.

“We are also inviting opinions and advises from stakeholders regarding the report so that we can look for solutions on various environmental challenges,” he noted.


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