FOUL-SMELLING had been the order of the day for years at Nyakato Industrial Area, about nine kilometres from the shores of Lake Victoria and about eight kilometres from Mwanza City centre along Musoma Road.
The cause of the smell was the presence of the Mwanza city abattoir with its inadequate and outdated facilities and equipment for proper operation. Generally, there was air pollution and a filthy environment. The effect of such pollution was so huge that it did not only end to nearby areas, but also went as far as to Lake Victoria affecting a lot of people. Lake Victoria is the source of River Nile, the lifeline of millions of people in Africa.
To redress the situation, Mwanza City Council thought of a project that would bring an end to the problem of pollution. Due to financial constraints, Mwanza city authorities collaborated with other stakeholders to attain the target – meeting international standards in health and environmental levels.
The council teamed up with the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) undertaken by East Africa Community member states of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
It is also under the Lake Victoria Basin Commission with headquarters in Kisumu, Kenya. LVEMP Coordinator for Tanzania, Omar Myanza, says that several researches came with findings that the abattoir hugely polluted Lake Victoria, hence in its second phase, the project focused on the matter.
“It was established that THE abattoir was a huge source of pollution to Lake Victoria so when we started LVEMP II we focused on it to control the effluence from the source,” said Mr Myanza.
The coordinator notes that the EAC partner states were taking part in the Lake Victoria environmental conservation activities and that the particular project seeks to use the pollutant materials as raw materials in a biogas project that would bring huge economic benefits.
The project has been completed by almost 95 percent. He says that the scheme also would train workers and slaughtering crew, fence the facility, acquire plants and equipment and establish proper waste management.
It is in line with the objectives of LVEMP II (financial supporter) of reducing and controlling pollution from the point of source. Ms Lydia Nyeme is the Mwanza City Council (MCC) Environmental Officer and also LVEMPMCC Coordinator. She says that the abattoir has been a main source of pollution to the lake for a long time as it lacked the required infrastructure.
“The abattoir was the main source of pollution to Lake Victoria and that was because it lacked required infrastructure to check what is not required; there were no troughs to take out wastewater and that led to the area becoming swampy.
Worse still, there is Nyashishi river tributary that takes the waste to Lake Victoria. We looked at the situation and found that we were the main polluters of the lake and had to take action,” says Ms Nyeme. Mwanza Livestock Officer, Mr Onesmo Nyamaishwa, says the abattoir was missing the important system of checking wastewater that caused bad smell.
“We took action by improving the abattoir and LVEMP chipped in to finance construction of the wastewater plant and now the situation is much better as water is purified before being released to the lake.
The project has further advantages as it produces biogas as well as fertilizer,” says Mr Nyamaishwa. He says that the average number of animals slaughtered daily is 330 -- 200 cows, 80 goats and 50 sheep.
The project would reduce the pungent small emanating from improper wastes management. The abattoir practises ‘customs slaughter’, a system in which ownership of the livestock to be slaughtered remains with the trader or butcher and slaughter facility takes a fee.
The animals are brought to the abattoir from customers who buy from local livestock markets in Mwanza city and nearby regions of Shinyanga, Simiyu and Geita.
The slaughtering fees are 2,600/- and 2,000/- per cow and goat respectively, and are collected by a contracted agent who has also been responsible for cleaning the facilities and managing waste. As from now, the work would be simplified through employment of modern means of managing waste
. The project was technically invented by the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) to redress the situation that has not been in compliance with food safety, hygiene formalities and environmental standards for quite long.
NM-AIST lecturer (Energy and Materials), Thomas Kivehele, says the institute has put in place a state-of-the-art plant that would treat wastewater.
The advantages of the project as getting purified water, biogas, bio fertilizer, recover nutrients and conserve the environment of the Lake Victoria and surrounding areas.
The project contractor, Dharam Singh Hanspaul & Sons based in Arusha, says he is happy with the Fifth Phase Government’s move to offer contracts to local companies. LVEMP II is regionally coordinated by the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) under EAC through its Regional Project Coordination Team (RPCT) based in Kisumu, Kenya.
In Tanzania, the project became effective on August 20, 2009. Its implementation covers Mara, Simiyu, Mwanza, Geita and Kagera regions, with 23 districts. It is being implemented for a period of eight years in two phases, from 2009-2013 and 2014- 2018.