Animal Waste Management Practices and Perceptions on Public and Environmental Health Risks
A study was conducted to assess the practices with respect to management of animal wastes and awareness of livestock keepers on the environmental and public health risks associated with improper management of animal wastes in 66 livestock-keeping households in Morogoro Municipality, Tanzania. A semi-structured questionnaire was used for data collection, complemented with review of secondary data and researchers’ observations. Majority of respondents (91.0%) heaped the wastes near the animal shed and none of them treated the waste before disposal. Main methods for waste disposal were spreading as manure on crop farms (62.1%) and burning (10.6%), and about 24% respondents disposed the wastes on any available open space. It was also observed that 40.9% of the respondents were aware of environmental risks caused by improper disposal of animal wastes while 59.1% were not aware of such risks, and the risk mentioned was air pollution. About 57.6% of the respondents were aware of the public health risks and they mentioned skin infections, helminthosis, diarrhea, allergy and respiratory infections. Majority of the respondents (87.9%) were not aware of the existence of legislation governing animal waste management. It can be concluded from the study that the limited knowledge on proper management of animal wastes in the study area as well as lack of enforcement of legislation predisposes the environment and public to health risks. It is recommended that responsible authorities should initiate programmes to educate livestock keepers and the general public on appropriate waste management technologies in order to minimize public and environmental health risks.
Key words: animal wastes, environment, public health