The extractive sector is a global industry while its activities are often located in remote, ecologically sensitive and less-developed areas that include many indigenous lands and territories, deep sea (for offshore activities), etc. The natural gas and mining activities may have harmful effects on the environment, health and safety of people and the government need to have policies, laws and institutional frameworks in place to mitigate the negative impacts to the environment.
Despite a number of positive steps taken by the government, there are still concerns which seem to suggest the existence of gaps in the implementation of the policies and enforcement of laws and regulations on environmental management in the country. It has been reported that extractive activities, and particularly mining have had adverse environmental impacts. In some cases, mining activities have radically altered the natural environment by stripping away the ground, and adding chemicals and other toxic substances to rivers and wells. Opencast mining has invariably been associated with deforestation, soil erosion, land degradation, air pollution and ecosystem disruption. The environmental legacy of mining activities is generally that of large unfilled holes and abandoned artisanal mining sites.
At the local level, there are no institutions that deal directly with environmental issues on a day to day basis. It is not clear who is responsible for clean-ups in the awake of leakages or oil spills; and there is no clear framework in place to ensure that there is sufficient funding when an extractive project is closed. The existing mechanisms for holding companies to environmental regulations are inadequate and not effective enough.
Given the existing challenges in environmental management in the extractive sector, UONGOZI Institute is organising a one day event titled “Environmental Management of Extractive Activities in Tanzania: A Review of the Policy, Legal and Institutional Frameworks”. The one-day event to be held in Dodoma aims to unveil the gaps in the existing policy, legal and institutional frameworks guiding the extractive sector in the management of environmental issues.
Hon. January Makamba, Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office for Union Affairs and Environment is expected to be the Guest of Honour at the event.