District officials charged with environment, mining and forestry have been reminded that they have a prime responsibility of ensuring that there are no illegal mining activities in their constituencies.
The call was made by Supt. Modeste Mbabazi, the Director of Environmental Protection Unit (EPU) of Rwanda National Police (RNP) while addressing a workshop on mining standards on September 2 at St Andre Kabgayi in Muhanga District.
“When we talk about matters related to mining, you are our focal points and that’s why we encourage you to prioritise the fight against illegal mining,” Mbabazi told the officials.
“The people will hold you to account if you don’t play your role in ensuring that we collectively preserve our environment,” Supt. Mbabazi said.
“The Environmental Protection Unit is charged with ensuring that no one conducts activities that may affect our environment or violate laws relating to environmental protection, but this is done in partnership with all stakeholders including you, that’s why you should provide us with information whenever you encounter anyone involved in illegal mining activities,” the director added.
According to SP Mbabazi, environmental crimes have frequently ranked low on the law enforcement crime rates list, not because they are not there but because they are often less known yet they impose a security and safety threat to development.
“If not checked, such actions hinder our committed pathway to sustainable economic growth.”
“The role of RNP in environmental protection comprises not only law enforcement but also participation in its preservation through awareness, practical interpretation of the environmental laws to citizens and engaging in the public environment management awareness process,” he added.
The unit which was launched in June last year makes spontaneous checks in different parts of the country to ensure proper management of environment, have periodical joint operations and conduct periodical trainings of Police officers on a series of environmental conservation.
The unit has powers to arrest, summon and investigate all kinds of environmental related crimes.