Tanzania’s greener future: Reducing methane in the waste and livestock sectors

Did you know that almost 60 percent of the waste in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is food waste? It ends up in waste landfills where it produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas whose reduction is critically needed to reduce global warming.

Tanzania is embarking on a journey to address methane emissions, through collaborative efforts aimed at improving urban resilience and addressing climate change.

Tanzania will be one of 15 countries included in a global methane initiative led by the World Bank, which aims to reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas.

As part of the World Bank’s Climate Action Plan, reducing methane emissions was identified as a cost-effective way to reduce rising global temperatures and their impacts.

Methane is a strong greenhouse gas that stands out for being 80 times more powerful and dangerous than carbon dioxide over a period of 20 years. Addressing it is a major challenge and has important benefits in the fight against global warming.

Tanzania will focus on reducing methane produced in its livestock and agricultural sectors, and solid waste produced in the country’s largest city, Dar es Salaam.

It will be a collaborative effort between the Government of Tanzania, the private sector, civil society, communities and households. The British High Commission, the Government of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands and the World Bank have joined the effort as part of a wider initiative to improve solid waste in Dar es Salaam.

Livestock emissions will be supported as part of the Global Methane Reduction Platform for Development in Tanzania and proposed World Bank financing that would improve the competitiveness of livestock operations.

The livestock sector contributes 14.5 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions globally, with the largest contribution of the methane produced coming from the digestive systems of animals.

In Tanzania, a single cow emits more than 80 kg of methane annually and Tanzania’s livestock subsector, which is home to 36.6 million cattle, is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

As populations grow and demand for livestock products increases, mitigation strategies are crucial for the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, who rely heavily on livestock.

These strategies include optimizing feeding practices and implementing efficient manure management practices that reduce emissions intensity while improving production. The analysis shows that mitigation interventions, along with controlling animal numbers over the next six years, could reduce emissions by 13% and increase production by 29%.

The World Bank is developing a results framework to monitor methane emissions from livestock operations in Tanzania, helping to track progress and encouraging consistent project assessments and accurate emissions baselines, improving the efficiency of methane reduction efforts. methane emissions.

In Dar es Salaam, solid waste is the largest methane emitter, accounting for 55 percent of the city’s methane emissions. Between 2024 and 2040, these emissions are projected to further increase by more than 90 percent. However, it can be managed; By implementing established technologies at scale, it is possible to reduce up to 80 percent of solid waste emissions.

“Dar es Salaam has numerous innovative programs addressing food waste, with enormous potential to mitigate the city’s impact on global climate change; The World Bank initiative aims to collaborate with these groups, leveraging their local experience and knowledge on climate change to scale it to the city level,” says John Morton, Senior Urban Specialist at the World Bank.

Nipe Fagio, a local environmental organization, is using insects (black soldier fly larvae) to process food waste, turning it into compost and insect protein. Kinondoni Municipality’s Mabwepande Composting Facility also processes food waste from the city’s markets. Expanding both initiatives could result in a significant reduction in methane emissions. Reducing food waste during distribution and in homes also has great potential to reduce emissions and will be a goal of the initiative.

The Mapwepande composting facility in Kinondoni Municipality treats food waste, reducing methane emissions from waste disposal.

PHOTO | WORLD BANK

Invest in methane mitigation

Methane mitigation in Tanzania will be supported by the Dar es Salaam Metropolitan Development Project (DMDP), which aims to modernize the city’s waste management infrastructure, focusing on reduction, reuse, recycling and treatment . DMDP Coordinator Nyariri Nanai emphasized that “Tanzania is committed to methane reduction through comprehensive waste management strategies as part of the DMDP, ensuring a cleaner and more sustainable future for all Tanzanians.”

While efforts aim to reduce emissions, they also aim to increase production, and the Livestock Competitiveness and Resilience Project planned in Tanzania will help transform the livestock sector, focusing on generating economic growth and ensuring a sustainable future capable of meeting demands. global food supplies while addressing climate change.

The global imperative to reduce climate change is generating international interest in contributing to the initiative. “The UK’s vision is to work with partners to mitigate, adapt and build resilience to climate change and protect nature. Through this project, we have the opportunity to work with Dar es Salaam city authorities and the World Bank, to simultaneously improve the city’s urban resilience and waste management systems,” said Kemi Williams, Director of Development of the British High Commission in Tanzania.

The success of the methane initiative depends on the collective efforts of various stakeholders, including the government, NGOs, the private sector, the informal sector, financiers and donors, and the community at large. Through joint efforts, the initiative aims to set a benchmark for sustainable urban development and climate resilience in Tanzania.