The Rwandan Environment minister, Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya calls on all Rwandans to respect national environmental laws and regulations and to adopt practices that allow ecosystems to perform their functions to sustain human life.
The appeal was made as the country marked World Environment Day on June 5.
The minister underlined the importance of members of the public desisting from using illegal plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items, as well as harvesting immature trees and encroaching on protected areas such as lakes, rivers and wetlands.
Rwanda marked the World Environment Day jointly with the World Biodiversity Day (which normally falls on May 22), under closely related themes, “Ecosystem Restoration” and “We’re part of the solution”, respectively.
Both themes denote human responsibility in reversing biodiversity loss and recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded by anthropogenic actions such as pollution and deforestation, among others.
“World Environment Day commemoration is a good opportunity to build upon the success made in environmental management towards green growth and climate change resilience,” Mujawamariya said.
Observed since 1972, World Environment Day is the principal vehicle through which the United Nations pushes for global action for the protection of the environment.
Notwithstanding the ecosystem services supporting human life in all development sectors, critical ecosystems in Rwanda such as wetlands, forests and water sources face a lot of pressure especially with pollution, the introduction of invasive species, climate change and habitat loss, Mujawamariya said.
“The celebration of World Environment Day 2021 is a good opportunity for Rwanda to raise awareness on ecosystems restoration and especially protection and wise use of critical ecosystems.”
As part of the events, a Youth Green Innovation and Investment Awards ceremony was organised to honour environmental crusaders.
The top prize went to Green Care Rwanda Ltd, an organisation of young Rwandan entrepreneurs involved with municipality solid waste management in Huye District. It recycles and transforms biodegradable waste material into organic fertiliser.
For their effort, they received 6 million currency. “We are pleased to be the winners of this award,” said Noel Nizeyimana, CEO of Green Care Rwanda.
They “convert waste into cash” by transforming it into packaged composts, branded ‘Grekompost’, and eco-friendly paver blocks, he said. “We improve soil fertility and productivity, protect the environment and fight climate change.”
Besides the Ministry of Environment, events related to the World Environment Day were backed by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), UNDP Rwanda, UNEP, EU Delegation to Rwanda, Swedish embassy, among others.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environment and the Private Sector Federation on Friday launched what’s been dubbed as the Single-Use Plastic Polyethylene terephthalate project, which seeks to help prevent and reverse the loss of biodiversity due to plastic pollution.