- Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT)
The Lawyers Environmental Action Team (LEAT) works in Mwanza and surrounding regions with community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the Mwanza City Council to identify problems and educate both polluters and victims of pollution about environmental laws. LEAT also conducts public interest litigation to force the cessation of polluting activities by both local factories and Mwanza City authorities. And LEAT works with surrounding towns and villages affected by polluting industries. Village and municipal leaders and residents have been educated about existing environmental laws used to combat environmental pollution, and they have been briefed on the Village Land Act of 1999 which stipulates rights of villagers regarding their land and other natural resource laws.
In 2001 the Blacksmith Institute aided LEAT in establishing a branch office in Mwanza City, Tanzania, and we have supported them since. Mwanza is a city located on Lake Victoria that has been experiencing increasing pollution from factories and mines discharging untreated waste into the lake. Waste from fish processing plants, oil processing plants, textile plants, and tanneries is released untreated directly into Lake Victoria. Also, the lack of a generalized sewage collection system in Mwanza means that domestic waste is also dumped directly into the Lake. Moreover, a disastrous cyanide spill from any one of the mining companies on the Lake’s shore is a real possibility if proper environmental measures are not implemented. LEAT will continue working with the residents and authorities in the Mwanza City region to address polluting industries and the enforcement of environmental laws. The group plans to broadcast radio and television programs on environmental law in the coming months.