Over 60 per cent of more than 200 tourists’ hotels in Zanzibar face demolition because they are built on the sea side, contrary to environmental regulations. A prompt survey by members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives identified massive violations of the regulations.
The lawmakers have since declared war on such premises. “This is unacceptable, all structures built on beaches contrary to the law should be demolished. The department of environment should make sure the order is implemented,” said Mr Hamza Hassan Juma, Chairperson of the House Committee on Environment.
Hamza and his team blamed the environment department and other responsible authorities for failing to make sure that investors abide by the laws, particularly at this time when the environment is a global issue. According to Mr Sheha Mjaja, Director of the Department of Environment, regulations require any project to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before taking off, and any structure should be built at least 30 metres and 10 metres from sandy and rocky beach respectively.
Mr Mjaja said that his department has identified over 60 per cent of the tourists projects in Zanzibar particularly tourist hotels, which have either not done any EIA at all or just ignored it. “Unfortunately we have not been serious in enforcing the law because of bureaucracy. This is a complex issue because it involves many public institutions and investors.
“We are planning to convene a meeting to involve investors, public institutions, and my department to discuss and find out the best way to solve the ongoing reckless construction of building at the beaches,” he noted. In addition to trade, and cloves production, Zanzibar relies on the booming tourism industry which contributes about 25 per cent to its GDP.
By ISSA YUSSUF