By Azania Post Reporter
THE government has banned all public institutions in Tanzania to abandon the use of firewood in cooking in order to save water sources, forests and reduce the rate of deforestation.
This was today in the house in Dodoma , by the deputy minister in the Vice-President's Office (Union and Environment) Kangi Lugola when responding to a basic question raised by Daniel Nsanzugwanko, Kasulu urban legislator (CCM)
The MP had wanted to understand measures taken by the government to protect water sources and reduce deforestation.
Reacting Deputy Minister Lugola said the government has formulated various programs aimed at protecting environment.
He said in 2012 the programme on ways to reduce desertification was formed which aimed at minimizing cutting down of trees for cooking purposes.
“We have banned public institutions which accommodates many people at once to use fire wood for cooking, this would help in the fight against water sources protection,” he said.
Speaking in the same house, the Manyovu legislator Albert Obama said destruction of water sources in Tanzania was at an alarming rate due to failure by government departments to protect them.
Early this year, the Tanzanian government announced to put tax on charcoal with the aim of discouraging the use of the fuel, which is a big source of energy for cooking but also a major contributor to deforestation.
Under the government plan, anyone who sells charcoal within one of the country’s districts or exports charcoal from it would pay a tax of about 30,000 Tanzanian shillings (about $11) on each 90 kg bag of the fuel.
The proposed tax, which will be subject to parliamentary approval, would be payable at checkpoints set up in each district.
In Tanzania, more than 370,000 hectares (915,000 acres) of forests are being cut every year, a significant portion of it for fuel, according to Tanzania Forests Services Agency, a government agency responsible for monitoring the country’s forestry activities.
The charcoal industry generates an estimated $650 million a year, employing hundreds of thousands of people as producers and transporters, as well as manufacturers and retailers of charcoal stoves, according to the World Bank.
Many poor households across Tanzania look to forests as a source of income, harvesting trees to supply growing markets for charcoal and timber.
Although Tanzania has many energy sources, including natural gas and solar power, charcoal, firewood and other biomass sources still account for 85 percent of total cooking energy consumption, according to the country’s National Energy Policy 2015.