This was during a live talkshow on the national broadcaster – Rwanda Television – on Sunday, which brought together officials from the ministries of Environment and infrastructure as well as Rwanda National Police (RNP) and Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) to tackles issues surrounding gas emission and preventive mechanisms in the country.
Juliet Kabera, the Director General in charge of Environment and Climate Change in the Ministry of Environment, said the government has put much efforts to address environmental degradation, but added that more still remains to be done to ensure the environment issue such as gas emission problem is effectively addressed.
“We are all required to keep educating the public to influence positive change, this is one of the appropriate approaches to make people responsible in tackling the problem,” Kabera said.
According to Kabera, about 2, 227 people lost their lives in Rwanda since 2012 due to respiratory diseases largely caused by air pollution, but added that the government and the ministry of infrastructure in particular is supporting communities to get improved stoves which, which use less charcoal.
Eng. Colette Ruhamya, the Director General of REMA, observed that air pollution has a devastating effects on people especially young children.
Commenting on industries as being widely blamed for causing air pollution, the REMA boss said that “new strategies have been set.”
“Before a new industry could be allowed to operate in the Rwanda, they have to fulfill international standards against air pollution, and these standards are clearly stated and documented,” Eng. Ruhamya said.
She explained that although there are no many and big industries in Rwanda compared to other developed countries where gas emission from industries has become a challenge and causing climate change, “the emphasis is to plan ahead to avert the bigger problem of gas emission that lies ahead caused by industries.”
She also urged farmers to avoid burning grasses in gardens but instead use the grass as manure to boost crop production.
ACP Mujiji Rafiki, the Deputy Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety Department noted that RNP has taken a step to particularly address the issue of gas emitted by automobiles including compulsory gas emission testing at the mechanical inspection centres.
The vehicle mechanical inspection centres have the capacity to inspect at least 800 vehicles daily.