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A LOCAL NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATION, CIVIL EDUCATION IS THE SOLUTION TO POVERTY AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (CESOPE),

Has urged the authority to conduct a
study to determine the safety of the source of water in Mzakwe area before
uranium mining in Bahi district commences.


Bahi is just 53 kilometers from
Dodoma munucipality, and the argument is that the source of water lies on the
water table that runs through Bahi to Lake Victoria, putting it on the spotlight
once uranium mining activities commence. 

Speaking with The Guardian in an
exclusive interview recently, CESOPE Director Thony Lyamunda said with the
increasing population in the region following the government’s shifting its
base there was a need for a study to certify safety of water source in the
city.

“There are a lot of concerns about
uranium mining activities in Bahi, but another issue that has been overlooked
is the source of water in Dodoma that gets water from a water body that runs
through Bahi district,” he said.

In recent years, Tanzania has
witnessed a lot of activities in its mining industry and is currently expecting
new investments following the discovery of uranium resources in the country.

From 2006 and subsequent years, the
government has granted exploration licences to numerous international companies
to explore this resource in different parts of the country, Bahi inclusive.

In 2013 the government announced
that the country had confirmed 17.8 million tonnes of uranium reserves at the
ecologically sensitive Mkuju River, whose extraction would bring in some $363
million in corporate taxes and another $50 million as Pay As You Earn (PAYE). 

On the other hand, however, there
has been a lot of opposition from communities, civil society and experts across
the board about the complications related to the mining of uranium in other
parts of the country like Bahi district.

Opponents have cited uranium mining
as posing serious hazards to the environment and health through contamination
of ecological resources by poisonous and radioactive substances, a hallmark of
this industry.

A study commissioned by CESOPE in
2012 in Bahi district shows that if the government gives the go ahead to the
proposed uranium mining, many people would have to be relocated.

It states that uranium mining may
make the whole area dangerous due to the release of radio nuclides and
radioactive dust and gases such as radon.

“If radio nuclides are released,
they may spread throughout the groundwater and surface water systems, placing
the entire swamp area and surrounding districts at great risk.” reads the
report in part.

It is on this ground that Lyamunda
argues that it is prudent to conduct a new study to verify how safe will Dodoma
residents be when uranium mining activities begin.

He said uranium and all of its decay
products are liberated from their natural containment in the rock or soil and
can move much freer towards the environment.

“They can and will disseminate
easily into the air, with wind, into the water as contact with oxygen will help
this process” added Lyamunda.

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