Managing industrial wastewater in Tanzania: Challenges and solutions

Industrialization is one of the key strategic objectives within the Tanzanian National Development Plan. However, with often water-intensive production expanding, the treatment of increasing amounts of wastewater poses a major challenge. This is especially the case in the country’s economic centre Dar es Salaam. Untreated discharge not only has a negative effect on the ecosystem and the health of communities using the water, but also on foreign investment.

Complexity of discharge permit process as obstacle to investment

Industries, especially those exporting to the US and Europe, increasingly adhere to strict compliance on international environmental standards. A significant challenge these industries face is the complexity of the process to obtain official permits for the disposal of wastewater. With multiple regulating agencies involved and industries requiring various types of permits, the result is a complex and lengthy process to safely dispose of wastewater.  

Wastewater treatment plant in Dar es Salaam
Tooku Garment LTD pre-treatment plant at the Benjamin William Mkapa Special Economic Zone, Dar es Salaam
Copyright: EPZA

NatuReS, in collaboration with stakeholders of the partnership including the Tanzania Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), aims at addressing this issue. First, by establishing and facilitating a continuous dialogue between regulators and the private sector. Additionally, by supporting the development and implementation of ‘Industrial Wastewater Management Guidelines’ for the EPZA. These represent an important step to formalize and standardize this process.

With a growing industrial sector, there is an increasing need for an integrated, predictable and modern permit management system.

Videos to visualize processes and regulators

The following video visualizes both the processes and the regulators involved in industrial wastewater management, showcasing the example of an imaginary factory in the Benjamin William Mkapa Special Economic Zone.

This animated video was produced by GIZ NatuReS in collaboration with the Tanzania Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Dar es Salaam Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (DAWASA), National Environmental Management Council (NEMC), the Confederation of Tanzanian Industries (CTI) and Wami Ruvu Basin Water Board (WRBWB).

A second video includes testimonies from the regulators, explaining their roles and responsibilities in managing industrial wastewater. The Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) on behalf of the private sector highlights the persisting challenge to environmental compliance by industries and why it is important to have a coordinated approach in managing industrial wastewater.

This video was produced by GIZ NatuReS in collaboration with the Tanzania Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Dar es Salaam Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (DAWASA), National Environmental Management Council (NEMC), the Confederation of Tanzanian Industries (CTI) and Wami Ruvu Basin Water Board (WRBWB).

Launch of Industrial Wastewater Management Guidelines

Tanzania has recently achieved the status of a low middle-income country. The creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Processing Zones (EPZs) under the surveillance of the Export Process Zone Authority (EPZA) are considered key in the National Development Plan.

The EPZA Director of Investment Promotion and Facilitation Mr. James Maziku with GIZ-NatuReS Tanzania Country Coordinator Mr. Fridtjof Behnsen during the launch of the guidelines.
Copyright: GIZ

Wastewater from any manufacturing process is discharged back into the environment. Untreated discharge harms the ecosystem and the people using it. It also has a negative effect on foreign investments, as industries often adhere to strict environmental compliance.

NatuReS has been collaborating with EPZA to improve water security and increase attraction of the zones to investors. Under the collaboration, EPZA partnered with three other main governing bodies in regulating industrial wastewater discharge. Their goal is to develop industrial wastewater management guidelines for SEZs. Other regulators include the Basin Water Boards (BWBs), Water Supply and Sanitation Authorities (WSSA), and the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) as the highest authority to safeguard overall environmental compliance.

“We have come up with these specific guidelines that will ensure, wastewater from the zones that we are managing will cause no harm to people and environment; industries will get water at the desired quality and with no negative impacts to the surrounding communities,” said Mr. Lamau Mpolo, Director of Planning and Development at EPZA, after the launch on 18 December 2020 in an interview with Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC).

While the guidelines will cover all Export Processing Zones, they will also be distributed to other stakeholders, including district councils for efficient wastewater management, according to Mr. Mpolo.

Tanzania - The frontpage of the guidelines document
Tanzania – The frontpage of the guidelines document
Copyright: GIZ

NEWSLETTER

Always stay up to date by subscribing to our newsletter


NatuReS is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-funded by the European Union and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). This website’s contents are the sole responsibility of GIZ and do not necessarily reflect the views of the BMZ, European Union or FCDO.

Newsletter subscription

Please enter your email address to subscribe to our newsletter