Tanzania sets charcoal, firewood use deadline for institutions

The Tanzanian government has set January 31, 2025 as the deadline for the use of charcoal and firewood by the country’s institutions.

The move is part of efforts to stop the use of energy sources that are hazardous to the health of individuals and the environment.

Data produced by the Ministry of Energy in Dar es Salaam last year showed that despite being largely considered to be cheaper options, charcoal, firewood, and crop residues were having profoundly detrimental impacts on people’s health, causing up to 33,000 deaths annually.

The population of households using clean cooking energy in Tanzania stands at between 4.5 percent and eight percent.

According to the Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union and Environment), Dr Seleman Jafo, said that over 46,960 hectares of forests, equivalent to 26 percent of Tanzania’s landmass, are destroyed every year due to the felling of trees for firewood and charcoal.

Minister’s order

He thus ordered all institutions that serve not less than 100 people to stop using firewood and charcoal by January 31, 2024, while those institutions serving from 200 people will stop using the energy source on January 31, 2025.

“According to the available statistics, it is estimated that 16 percent of the land has been destroyed and could turn into a desert because of illegal charcoal and firewood activities,” said Dr Jafo.

He said firewood is widely used because it is easier to obtain and many people can afford it, unlike other energy sources such as electricity and gas.

However, the minister said despite the affordability, the use of firewood and charcoal affects the health of the user by causing diseases after inhaling poisonous gases that affect the lungs and heart and cause respiratory diseases in children.

He said the government has laid out a strategy to reduce those effects.

The minister also directed gas and stove firms to use the ban as an opportunity to meet the expected growing demand.

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