Police Training School (PTS) located in Gishari, Rwamagana District has shifted from using firewood for cooking to use of gas as part of Rwanda National Police’s environmental protection policy which fits well in the National environmental protection programme.
According to PTS Commandant Commissioner of Police (CP) Joseph Mugisha, the idea to switch from use of wood to gas came as part of the grand plan of cutting reliance of wood which was not only dangerous to the environment but also not very user friendly.
“Rwanda National Police, as an institution that champions environmental protection, found it necessary and important to shift from the traditional way of cooking which was posing climate related risk to using gas that is not only user friendly but also pose little or no damage at all to the environment,” said CP Mugisha in an interview.
He added that; besides the environmental aspect, this new system came with extra advantages like sanitation and efficiency; the system is efficient in a way that it has reduced cooking time by at least two hours on every meal.
In terms of healthy, global medical experts have in fact, indicated that diseases caused by smoke from open fires claim 4.3 million lives every year worldwide. That’s more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
It has also been proven that the use of firewood creates an unsustainable pace of deforestation that leads to mudslides, loss of watershed, and other environmental consequences.
Pundits say that using firewood for cooking contributes up to 25 percent of black carbon emissions, a pollutant that contributes directly to climate change.
“From what we cook to how we cook, our food connects with our lives on so many levels. That’s why having access to clean energy for cooking is as equally important as the need for food,” added the commandant.
He added that the school is ready to share the knowledge and showcase the new kitchen installation so as Rwandan can collectively take part in environmental conservation.
PTS has installed a 2800kg of gas tank that has a capacity of running for three months with a refill and cooking for close to 400 people every day.
Although the cost between firewood and use of gas remained relatively the same, use of gas came with more added advantage.
In a detailed breakdown of how the situation was before PTS switched to using gas for cooking, the school administration used figures to describe the environmental impact that can be cause by mass reliance on wood.
Four months ago before the school installed the new gas system, it could spend averagely Rwf22,000 on firewood a day and sometimes; sometimes officers could go as far as Nyagatare District or Rulindo District looking for wood to buy. At least PTS could use two cords of wood each day which meant that.
One cord is made up of 10 trees meaning we needed 600 trees a month, or averagely 7,200 trees annually --- that’s very many trees had to be cut down for us to have enough wood for cooking.
This couldn’t go on and that’s when Rwanda National Police, as an institution committed to environmental protection, resorted to using clean energy,” he said.
PTS now runs its kitchen on a 28,000kg of gas in a tank that can run the school for three months without a refill and cooking for close to 400 people a day.
Indeed, PTS stands out as exceptional with its high-end and bold decision to move from using wood for cooking and switched to gas and according to Jeremy Ufitinema, a chief chef at PTS, “switching to gas came with a lot more advantages that ever imagined - among those is time saving and complete reduction of healthy risks that would have otherwise arose from use of wood.”
In his words, Ufitinema owes his on-job excitement to the recently constructed ultra-modern kitchen constructed to strictly use gas for cooking.
“There is nothing more thrilling like cooking for hundreds of trainees here at the school in the quickest time possible and in a smart way,” he says.
The use of gas for cooking has since contributed tremendously to climate change mitigation, deforestation and emissions reductions has also came as added advantage.
Besides PTS, Rwanda National Police intends to extend the same cooking system to all its units across the country as means to environmental protection .