Environmental challenges

As beautiful as Zanzibar is, the ever increasing popularity of the island causes quite some issues. The most unsightly is the problem regarding refuse or garbage, which seems to be everywhere.

Resorts usually get their staff to clean “their” beach (all beaches on Zanzibar are public). But where does all that stuff go? And where do the locals drop off their garbage?

Zanzibar does not have dedicated areas in the villages to drop off recycling material, nor do we have a governmental garbage removal system. That’s the reason why villages, beaches and road sides are littered with garbage. Besides the aesthetic issue, it is a serious health concern. Cows and goats eat the plastic. The plastic that’s taken into the ocean by the tides is eaten by the fish and other sea creatures.

A few years ago ZANREC was founded for the collection and recycling of plastic, metal and glass from the resorts, for a monthly fee. The waste from these hotels is collected, separated and recycled, re-used etc and the remainder is dumped at the only official dumpsite on Zanzibar, in Kibele.

However, too many resorts still use local “garbage collectors” that cart away loads of recycling on uncovered pick-up trucks, only to dump it on the other side of the tar roads or a bit further inland. They of course are supposed to bring it to the official dumping site in Kibele, for which they get paid by the resorts – but there is no proof of delivery to that site, the hotels apparently just trust the garbage collectors.