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Wealth from Waste: Poverty-Environmental conservation nexus
17. September 2017 at 18:31
As it has been stipulated in the Tanzania National Environmental Policy (1997) that; there is clear cause-and-effect relationship between poverty and environmental degradation. Environmental degradation is ascribed to widespread poverty-equally; poverty is habitual cause to environmental degradation as it undermines the capacity of people to manage resources wisely.
If we consider destitute people as one side of a coin in taking full responsibilities to environmental conservation; are not taking into account the need to care for the “common pool resources” in the environment;  as are equally shared and no one can restrict the right of others to use the same resource. The main target of destitute people is to find a quick and simple ways to utilize available resources for the sake of “making a day count” regardless of negative impacts to the environment in near future.

Overexploitation of the common pool resources like water, forest and land for the sake of sustaining difficulties in life has created a lot of pressure to available resources in the environment leading to serious environmental degradation. Taking a context that most people in Tanzania solely rely on charcoal and firewood from forest for cooking, water for; domestic uses, fishing and farming, land for; habitation, small-scale agriculture and animal grazing, whereby the current mode to resources utilization is unsustainably analogous to the so called a “tragedy of the common” with respect to “overuse or misuse of certain resources as are common owned” when referred to what a conservative Garrett Hardin (1968) oddly highlighted in his famous essay “The Tragedy of the Commons.”

The reality will stand still that, difficulties in finding the daily bread make most people i.e. the destitute to ignore their role in conserving our environment as compared to those who are well off. To site a better example, try to make an overview of people living in slums; level of pollution is extremely higher in such a way that the inhabitants consider such a situation as standard of living. No one is thinking about what is called “wastes”…people stay and eat with waste around, which is unhealthy! Nobody cares! Everybody is thinking about finding their daily bread to sustain a day and tomorrow will seek for its own!

Referring the other side of a coin, it doesn’t imply that those who are well off take fully responsibility to environmental conservation. The weak point of people in this category is fixed to lack of knowledge, attitude and practice or ignoring mentality or disobedient related to environmental conservation i.e. waste management. People in this category need to shift their mindset and attitude on their way of practice in respect to environmental conservation; the same, to change mode of practice-taking example of well off people who misuse common pool resources or throwing away different types of wastes (throwing away mentality) to an innocent environment.

“Business as usual” as the prime personal interest with respect to environmental interest being a slogan in daily basis. No one cares! It has been taken as norm and traditional way of practice, but in the real context of taking justice to environmental conservation is not a good practice!
Writing this article is not by coincidence, is to join hands the efforts made so far by National agenda as was spearheaded with example by Dr.John Pombe Magufuli, the President of United Republic of Tanzania and other Environmental activists in Environmental cleanliness in every Saturday and at the end of every and those initiatives of others globally in creating public awareness on making our Planet-Earth a better place to live.
Likewise, I’m writing to express my expertise from my critical observation of ordinary ways of addressing environmental challenges in the country; as I used to strictly speaking with the public via Radio and training programs, public events, and business forums, that; “collecting of what referred to as ‘wastes’ from one point and dump in a stream/wetland/river/lake/ocean or the bush is not ‘Green’ as far as principles of environmental management are concerned ” and that of;  “collecting of what called ‘wastes ’in a dustbin or a dump site/landfill without appropriate sorting mechanisms for ‘value creation’ out of that is not ‘Green’ in striving for ‘Going green’.”
 Our struggle to make a dirt-free country-Tanzania what we’re dreaming about, a better place to live with improved life standard of people, all stakeholders shouldn’t ignore the societal value creation from environmental conservation. The public should be aware that wastes could be minimized and appropriately sorted and effectively recycled into valuable materials.

In a modern way of thinking, all stakeholders in shared efforts have to address both social and environmental issues i.e. finding ‘Green’ solutions to all forms of environmental degradation while taking a second role to improve the life standard of people i.e. alleviating poverty by building capacity and let people realize that, they can “turn wastes into money” by following professional wastes sorting and recycling mechanisms. Does that make you startle? Yes. It is very possible! This is to remind the public that under natural system, there are no wastes; it is where the idea of “waste equals food” came about i.e. something considered as waste or not required in one system, can be very useful as raw material in another system. It’s about encouraging the public to set up businesses and embrace Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)-involving giving back to the community i.e. set up of Green/Sustainable businesses that can address environmental challenges of our time while creating social, economic and environmental value.
People of different background can be trained and empowered to setup Green/ Sustainable business or reinvent business model for Green growth with both shared societal and environmental values. Ultimately, people can manufacture valuable products from something considered as wastes or deliver services to minimize the impacts of environmental degradation and maximize environmental benefits with improved life standard.

Playing our cards well in addressing the challenges to Green growth, “Jielimishe Kwanza”-“Educate Yourself First” a Training and Consultancy company advocates the shared social and environmental values through customized programs-“Go-Green-Tanzania” and “Social & Environmental Entrepreneurship in Tanzania” (SEE-Tanzania) and outstanding Short training courses and seminars on “Building Green Business” (BGB), “Green Team Building”(GTB), Sustainable/Social/Environmental Entrepreneurship and consultancy services for Green Growth, hence minimize company operational costs, minimizing environmental impacts and maximize profit i.e. addressing issues related to sustainable development – Economic Prosperity, Environmental Protection and Social Justice in their local communities creatively in business and managerial setting.

As a testimony of what I’m preaching, I have noted and working with few companies and organizations that buy irons leftovers (scraps), plastics, paper, organic leftovers etc. They make valuable products ranging from jewelry to decoration and domestic utilities, organic fertilizer and cooking stoves using less charcoal etc. The other companies opened businesses to provide household services of collecting wastes in appropriated mechanism of Environmental management involving sorting process ready for recycling into valuable products. Unlike in nature, the other companies that are providing household services of collecting waste and transfer directly to the landfills.

With respect to what they do, has been a source of employment to inhabitants as they’ve opened small workshops to make products for financial gain. This is in line with actively engagement of people in common understanding of valuing wastes while in one way or the other they eliminate wastes from the environment. Improving life standard of those so-called poverty stricken people, we can save resources, reducing pollution and hence achieve sustainable development.
Cite This Article As: Henry Kazula. "Wealth from Waste: Poverty-Environmental conservation nexus." International Youth Journal, 17. September 2017.

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