Tanzanian prisons on track to using clean energy for cooking to stop deforestation

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Tanzanian prisons service authority said Tuesday they were on track to shift from using fuelwood or charcoal for cooking to using clean energy to save the environment from further deforestation.

Jeremiah Katungu, the Tanzania Prisons Department’s deputy commissioner for administration and human resources, said the department was undertaking a program involving 13.6 billion Tanzanian shillings (about 5.43 million U.S. dollars) to shift to clean energy, adding the program to shift to clean energy for cooking food for inmates was being implemented from 2023.

Katungu said some prisons have already started using biogas and natural gas for cooking inmates’ food, adding that Tanzania has a total of 129 prisons.

In April, Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office responsible for Union and Environment Selemani Jafo announced that Jan. 31, 2025, will be the final date for prisons to use fuelwood or charcoal for cooking to save the environment from further deforestation.

He told a news conference in Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania, that prisons serving less than 100 people will be required to stop using fuelwood or charcoal by Jan. 31, 2024, while prisons serving more than 200 people will be required to stop using fuelwood or charcoal by Jan. 31, 2025.

“The government has taken these measures to save the environment from further deforestation,” said Jafo, adding that prisons were major consumers of fuelwood and charcoal for cooking.

He said more than 46,960 hectares of forests are being destroyed annually in the country for making fuelwood and charcoal, which could turn the country into a desert if measures are not taken to prevent the situation.

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