Mayor arrested over forest fire

Mayor arrested over forest fire

29 October 2016

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Tanzaina —  The enormous destruction caused by the fire (185 hectares of trees) in Mbizi Forest Reserve in Sumbawanga Municipality, has reached over 226m/- according to the damage assessment carried out recently. The Rukwa Regional Police Commander, (RPC), Mr George Kyando, confirmed that Maliwasa was nabbed on October 27, this year, and grilled by police for several hours.

His arrest followed revelations made by arrested suspected arsonists. The suspects alleged that they had been sent by Maliwasa to ruin the forest by setting it on fire However, the RPC declined to reveal details of the matter including the number and identities of the arrested arson suspects on the ground that investigation into the matter was still in progress. “It is true that (Maliwasa) was grilled but it was just an interrogation.

Further details will be made to the public later. For the time being law enforcers are still questioning or rather cross examining him. This is after the arrested arsonists alleged that he was the one who sent them on that errand,” added the RPC In the same vein, reports from inside the police force had it that Maliwasa who is also a Senga Ward Councilor in Sumbawanga Municipal Council was grilled at a Police Station here in Sumbawanga Town for several hours starting.

Report of his arrest spread like a bushfire around the Sumbawanga precinct that had enthused discussions among the citizens including zealots and members of political parties. The devastated forest , with a total of 1,269 hectares , had been planted with tree seedlings since 2014. It is managed by Tanzania Forest Service (TFS) which is surrounded by six villages and is the key source of water supply by 80 per cent here in addition to being home of the rare red colobus monkeys .

The revelation was made by a Mbizi Forest Reserve Manager, Mr Mohamed Kiangi, during the recent 30th Rukwa Regional Consultative Committee (RCC) meeting chaired by the Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Zelothe Steven Zelothe.

According to Mr Kiangi, the fire erupted in different places in the forest simultaneously at 1:00 am on September 9, this year, before being extinguished at 1:00 pm the following day.

On his part, Mr Zelothe issued a stern warning to arsonists that they would be traced wherever they were hiding and arraigned regardless of their status in the community. The RC ordered the relevant state organs to ensure that all suspects are arrested and prosecuted. “No stone will remain unturned until all of them are arrested and prosecuted, “ added the RC.

Winters have started approaching the northern region of India that also includes Delhi-NCR along with Punjab and Haryana. Due to this, minimums have also started dropping in many parts of North India including Delhi and NCR. In fact, as per the temperatures recorded on October 15 and October 17, the minimums ofDelhi and NCR went down to 17°C.

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As per experts, an increase in the pollution level normally occurs during the winter months. However, there are a few reasons that could enhance the pollution level in Delhi and the adjoining areas. The very first reason that can be attributed to an increase in pollution level in the national capital is crop fires in the neighboring state ofHaryana andPunjab.

These two states lie in northwest proximity of Delhi and normal pattern of winds during this season is northwesterly. These winds drag the smoke and fine particles of the burnt crop and mix them with Delhi’s atmosphere. Moreover, the temperatures also start dipping, therefore, the air near the earth’s surface tends to condense leading to formation of haze.

Whenever the winds are light or calm, these air pollutants get mixed with the haze or mist and forms a blanket of smoke haze which remains suspended for few hours in the mornings. Thereafter, the haze disappears as the sun rises and temperatures increases during the day.


But as the winter progresses in the month of December and January, the duration of haze, mist or fog gets extended and these pollutants remain suspended in the atmosphere for longer duration of time. Other factors including the smoke emitting from vehicles and factories and dust from construction sites also add to the rising pollution levels.

Sometimes this situation can continue for day’s altogether. However, relief is expected only when a strong Western Disturbance gives rain over the region. It is then that these pollutants settle down for a few days.

Another criterion which reduces the pollution levels is the strong and moderate dry winds from northwest or west which carry away these pollution particles. In a nutshell, it can be said that in October, intensity and duration of pollution remain less though increases in November as winters sets in.

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