Rwanda has joined the world in celebrations to mark the world environment day under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it.”
The celebrations were the climax of the National Environment Week 2018 which aimed at raising awareness on plastic pollution and recycling.
Officiating the celebration of this day, at IPRC Kigali, Kicukiro, The Minister of Environment, Dr. Vincent Biruta said the Rwandan government, 20 years ago took strategies protect the environment and biodiversity for durable development.
Dr. Biruta revealed that the strategies have already paid off.
“Every one, has a role in the fight against plastic unique used tools and plastic bags. It is possible and it doesn’t require money, only a change in mindsets and actions is needed to succeed in this journey,” said Minister Biruta.
“This is the start of the long way to abolish the plastic bags and unique used plastic tools. Partnership among us all will enable us to achieve it,” said the Minister.
The private sector has urged to join the journey to keep the environment clean by adopting the use of non-plastic and recycling the plastics for good use.
Companies, BRALIRWA, Inyange Industries, Sulfo Rwanda and COPED have started the use of no unique used tools, a thing that they were commended for by the Environment Ministry.
Minister Biruta told journalists that “if enough is not done against plastic pollution, in the next 50 years, more kilograms of plastic in world seas could be more than tonnes of fish.”
A law punishing the use of unique used plastic tools is being reviewed and more tax money will be added for exported products packed in plastics.
In the National Environment Week 2018, Landscape Approach to Forest and Environment Conservation (LAFREC) Project and Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) had organized competitions to sensitise people to keep the environment clean.The competition was done in poems and songs and drawing.
Nyundo Music School was awarded as the best group of singers for their song called “Tubibungabunge” meaning “Let’s keep it [environment] clean” and were given a cheque worth Rwf3,200,000 that was presented to the school director by the Minister of Environment.
In solo songs, Jackson Murwanashyaka, a student from Kazo Secondary School of Rutsiro District was awarded as the student with the best song. Murwanashyaka was given a T-shirt, a hat, a basin, a pair of bed shits, ten notebooks and a clock as prizes. The plastic tools given to him and other winners were recycled.
His school, Kazo Secondary School also was awarded a trophy.
The best student in poems is Aline Gisa Uwimana from Bwiza Secondary School from Rutsiro District, who was given the same prizes as for the singer and her school also was given a trophy.
In drawings competition, Bwiza Secondary school also prevailed with its student given the abovementioned prizes and made his school double the trophies (for drawing and poem).
Jackon Murwanashyaka, a 15 year old student who was awarded as the best singer said, to win, was inspired by the fact that Rutsiro, his district of birth is a district that suffers worst from disasters due to poor protection of environment.
“Despite the thunder strikes that have killed many people in my district, landslides kill another large number due to erosion, this touched my heart” adding that he has learnt “if nothing is done to fight against plastic and uniquely used tools, fish in Lake Kivu that serve as our food could go extinct.”
“I feel motivated because of the prizes I received and I will do my best to sensitize my colleagues and neighbors to always keep the environment clean,” he said smilingly.