Tanzania’s environmental watchdog on Tuesday urged mine owners to take maximum precautions against possible flooding of wastewater storage ponds due to the ongoing heavy rains.
Samuel Gwamaka, the director general of the National Environment Management Council (NEMC), said flooding of the ponds that store wastewater that contains waste from mining extraction and refining processes could cause catastrophic health hazards to humanity.
“There is a possibility that flooded wastewater storage ponds located within mining areas could burst and overflow to areas resided by people causing disastrous consequences,” Gwamaka told a news conference in the port city of Dar es Salaam.
He cautioned the mine owners after the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) had issued a high alert over heavy rains in some parts of the country, including in mining areas.
In a statement last week, TMA advised local authorities to strengthen disaster management committees to reduce impacts associated with the November 2023 to April 2024 rains.
TMA warned the rains to be influenced by El-Nino conditions were likely to cause devastating consequences. It advised local authorities to improve water drainage systems, saying heavy rains may cause water stagnation and flooding, which may lead to infrastructure damage and loss of lives and properties.