NATURAL and Tourism Minister Jumanne Maghembe hinted that consumption of charcoal in the country is likely to double by 2030.
And, this is alarming news, indeed, as far as environmental protection and conservation are concerned. More charcoal consumption simply means increased deforestation, resulting into desertification.
Available data show that charcoal use is likely to increase from 2.3 to 4.6 million tones by 2030. Obviously, increased use of charcoal will not affect only environment and nature, but also the total economic growth because there are many sectors that rely on well conserved and protected environment.
Tourism, for instance, is one of the largest industries in today’s global economy. But, the rising sea levels, desertification, deforestation, melting of snow and glaciers adversely affect the sector.
Rising sea levels will eventually submerge small islands and coastal regions. Desertification and water scarcity make regions less hospitable for both local communities and tourists.
Deforestation harms biodiversity, affecting both the ecosystem and directly reducing the global carbon sink. Snow and glacier melting results in shift of destination demands, depending on the most attractive climate conditions.
So, charcoal consumption not only affects the environment but also slows down the country’s economic growth. We, in Tanzania, witnessed soaring revenues from tourism by 8.2 per cent, rising to two billion US dollars from 1.85 billion dollars between 2013 and 2014.
Tourist arrivals hit the one million mark for the first time in 2012, with the Tanzania Tourist Board expressing optimism that the number would have doubled two million by this year.
As TTB works out strategies to attract tourists, it should as well incorporate plans for sustainable environmental protection and conservation.
Majority tourists visit Tanzania to see nature, wild animals and forests as well as relax on the beautiful and peaceful beaches and climb Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro.
However, the current rate of charcoal consumption is a serious threat to the tourism sector and the country’s economic growth. Efforts are needed to replace charcoal with other environmental friendly sources, which unfortunately remain expensive and scarce.
All Tanzanians should have free access to affordable and readily available electricity, coal and gas as their source of power.