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Zanzibar ministry in new drive to save mangrove forests

ARUSHA Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar has embarked on a campaign against mangrove destruction along the isles’ coastline.

Sheha Mjaja Juma, Director General of the Zanzibar Environment Management Authority (ZEMA), told Xinhua in an interview on Wednesday that the campaign aimed at protecting and replanting mangrove forests.

“Our aim is to save mangrove forests from extinction as the rate at which mangroves are being cut is worrying. In fact, the rate of replacement does not match with what we are losing,” the official said, explaining that the dense root systems of mangrove forests trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land.

“It helps stabilize the coastline and prevents erosion from waves and storms. In areas where mangroves have been cleared, coastal damage from hurricanes and typhoons is much more severe,” Juma said.

Apart from protecting coral reefs and seagrass meadows from being smothered in sediment, mangrove forests also produce numerous good and services both to the marine environment and people, according to Juma.

The strategies will include educating people on the need to protect the environment as well as reinforcing the fight against mangrove cutting along the coastline.

He said the campaign is an effort to deter climate change impacts including flooding and erosion as well as rising of sea level.

The official said in recent years, 145 areas that had been used for farming and settlements in the archipelago have disappeared due to rising sea level and erosion.

Most of the affected areas saw destruction of mangroves, which play a key role in damage mitigation during disasters. It is estimated that Zanzibar has a total of 18,000 hectares of mangroves, with different species.



Road accidents in Tanzania decline by 48 pct in 3rd quarter

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzanian traffic police said Wednesday that road accidents in the East African nation declined by 48 percent in the third-quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.

Fortunatus Musilimu, the head of traffic police in the country, said road accidents between July and September went down by 1,264 from 2,639 recorded in the same period in 2016.

Musilimu said deaths and injuries caused by accidents also went down by 298 or 32 percent and 974 or 40 percent, respectively.

He attributed the decrease to efforts by the traffic police force in enforcing road traffic regulations and raising public awareness.

“We have been raising public awareness through various programs,” he told a news conference at the launch of the Road Safety Week.

Musilimu warned motorists who violated road traffic regulations saying legal action will be taken against them.

Musilimu invited all road users at a road safety campaign set to begin on Nov. 18 in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

He said after the campaign traffic police force will not tolerate any traffic rules offenders.

“It is not our duty to educate drivers on roads, if they need education they have to attend the road safety week campaigns or visit our offices,” said Musilimu.


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