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As the name suggests, plastics used just once and then thrown away, could be banned in Rwanda following a cabinet resolution agreed upon on Monday evening.

The law will have to be passed by parliament before it comes into force.

The plastics include straws, plates, cups, cotton buds, bottles, which scientists say can take several centuries to degrade.

The Ministry of Environment had tabled a draft law which seeks to ban single-use plastics in Rwanda to cabinet in September 2018.

These plastics had not been affected by the 2008 law prohibiting the use, manufacturing and trading of plastic materials in the country.

Minister Biruta said then that consultations had been made with several stakeholders. “The new law was drafted on single-use plastics and submitted to the cabinet for consideration before it is sent to parliament for further scrutiny. In the new law, we seek to ban some plastics such as straws, drink stirrers, disposable cups, plates and other cutleries,” Biruta told The new Times in September.

Rwanda would be the second country in Africa, after Seychelles, to ban the use of single-use plastics.

Canada, USA, India, Costa Rica, Greece and UK among other European countries have taken the lead in banning single-use plastics.

An estimated 13 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the world’s oceans each year.

By 2050, it is estimated that there will be more plastics than fish in the oceans.

In 2008, Rwanda enacted a law on importing, producing, use or sell plastic bags.

The law would cement Rwanda’s “deliberate push” to preserve the environment.

Plastic bags are placed in category one of the plastics banned in Rwanda.

Category two will includes single-use plastics, while category three will come at a later stage and that includes the plastics with no alternatives such as bottles among other selected packaging materials.

https://taarifa.rw/2019/01/28/statement-on-cabinet-decisions-now-appointments-draft-laws-approved/

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Environment

Rare African Elephant Twins Born in Northern Kenya

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For the first time in since 2006, incredibly rare African elephant twins have been born at Samburu national park a reserve in northern Kenya.

It is very rare for elephants to produce twins and according to scientists, twins form only 1% of all elephant births, as a mother does not usually have enough milk for two calves.

The birth of elephant twins came as a surprise to research and protection organisation Save the Elephants which monitors the family of elephants in the park.

Elephants have only a 1% chance of having twins, with most twin births occurring in wild African elephants, according to the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad.

The giant and intelligent mammals can have about four to five babies in their lifetime, and some species of elephants can be pregnant for a whopping 22 months.

The elephant world’s largest land animal, whose scientific name is elephas maximus, these ponderous pachyderms can grow can grow to more than 13 feet in height and weigh 7 tons.

Elephants are more than just genial giants; they are vital to the planet.

There is a day dedicated to their recognition – World Elephant Day on Aug.12, which is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants.

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Environment

Pacific Ocean Tonga Volcano Erupts

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The Australian Volcanic Ash Observation Centre has reported a major eruption of a volcano in Tonga, in the Pacific Ocean, north of New Zealand.

According to this monitoring centre, the most recent eruption of the volcano was recorded at 22:10 on Monday.

The information is corroborated by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which revealed that it recorded “big waves” in the region, presumably related to the volcano’s activity in the South Pacific.

The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai undersea volcano erupted on Friday, triggering a tsunami that affected the Pacific from Japan to Peru and the United States of America.

“The tsunami had a huge impact on the northern coast of Nuku’alofa”, the capital of Tonga, but there are no reports of casualties in the archipelago, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society estimates that at least 80,000 people have been affected in the archipelago.

The atmosphere in the region is covered with volcanic ash, there have been power cuts and communications failures, so New Zealand has announced the dispatch of a plane to assess the damage.

The impact of the eruption and the tsunami were felt globally, with different scales of intensity.

In Peru, two women died on a beach, because of “abnormal waves” caused by the volcano, more than 10,000 kilometers away.

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Environment

Rwanda Says Increased Sulphur In Air Not Linked To Nyiragongo Volcano

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Rwanda’s border district of Rubavu is currently suffocating with high levels of sulphur pollution in the air but government says it is not linked to the ongoing Nyiragongo volcanic activity.

Early this week, the Volcanic Observatory of Goma reported that Nyiragongo volcano was exiting various fumes, particulates and seismic activity causing panic in zones surrounding the mountain.

Across the border, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority deployed a team to assess the quality of the air in Rubavu District and the water quality of Lake Kivu.

This agency installed 6 additional mobile air quality monitoring units and took numerous samples from Lake Kivu. The findings indicate that water quality of Lake Kivu remains stable with no observable changes from the long term average.

Measurements show that the quality of the air in Rubavu District is currently unhealthy, with increased levels of particulate matter (PM 2.5) being recorded over the last three days.

While the air quality has worsened in recent days, this is likely the result of human activity such as pollution from motorised transport and wood and charcoal burning rather than volcanic activity, which would have led to increased levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2).

“Due to the poor air quality, residents in Rubavu District are encouraged to continue wearing masks and limit outdoor physical activity where possible,” REMA said in a statement.

 

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