Environmental status at Samunge Village (Tanzania) following a sharp increase in visitors
Starting early 2011, people from all over Tanzania, Africa and overseas flocked Samunge Village in northern Tanzania, to drink a cup of Carissa spinarum concoction claimed to treat diseases hitherto known to be incurable by conventional medicine including HIV-AIDS, hypertension and diabetes. The big number of visitors resulted into vivid environmental impacts including trampling on plants and animals, unplanned discarding of drink and food containers, haphazard sanitation undertakings and overall change in panorama. The present study made some quantification on environmental status in the village during the peak visitor days in March 2011. There was widespread trampling and denudation of vegetation up to 200 m around the road leading to the village centre where the medicine was being administered. Small animals were trampled by vehicles and humans. Litter from mineral water and food containers was significantly more concentrated nearer the road than further away, but was spread to over 200 m from the road as was human refuse resulting from sanitary undertakings. The hitherto panorama of alternating green hills and lowlands became bisected by a long chain of different types of vehicles including large and small lorries, large and small buses, Land Cruisers, Land Rovers and saloon cars. There was widespread tree and shrub harvesting for firewood, temporary shelter and medicine. To reduce level of environmental impact the road needed improvement to ease vehicle movements, the number of vehicles and people going to the village for the medicine needed to be regulated and sanitary facilities installed along the road.
Key words: Samunge, Medicine, Incurable diseases, Environmental status.
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