The Great Global Cleanup

Bio-Medical Waste adds to Existing Hazards of Unmanaged Plastic Waste in Tanzania

The COVID pandemic has triggered a rise in bio-medical waste, as was seen at an Earth Day commemoration. Led by EARTHDAY.ORG a citizens’ beach cleanup drive in the Mikocheni locality of Dar es Salaam, the state’s capital was organized on 26 April 2022. Much to the horror of the volunteers, used syringes and medical waste emerged among the litter! This adds to the already huge problem of plastic waste management in Tanzania.  

Magreth Shoni from Human Dignity and Environmental Care Foundation who was part of the drive that day, remarked: ‘Usually when we do cleanups we find plastic wrappers among other waste the ocean waters bring ashore. Imagine the horror of the participants when they saw not just plastic wastes but used syringes too!

Ms Shoni adds: ‘As it is plastic carelessly flung into ocean waters was harming marine life. In addition, it often clogs streams and landfills. What it does to human health is worrisome: unmanaged waste plastic enters our bodies through what we eat and the air we breathe. Add now we have additional problems as plastic waste includes bio-medical waste. Unmanaged biomedical waste is known to trigger the spread of multiple diseases. As the poor have less recourse to medical aid, exposure to bio-medical waste will likely aggravate their already abysmal lives. ‘  

Zuhura Shaweji of EARTHDAY.ORG who was assisting with the cleanup drive, says: ‘My colleagues and I from EARTHDAY.ORG will put our best foot forward to bring this dangerous state of affairs to the notice of citizens of Dar es Salaam. We will organize multiple awareness-building exercises to ensure that everyone comprehends the harm they are doing themselves by not helping manage waste scientifically. EARTHDAY.ORG welcomes citizen groups coming forward to partner with us for cleanup drives that will benefit all. It will be an excellent way to ‘Invest In Our Planet’ – the global Earth Day theme for 2022