Rwanda will join the world in the celebration of World Environment Day (WED) on June 5 to be held under the theme "Green Economy: Does it include you?" This is preceded by the ongoing National Environment Week dedicated to activities to raise awareness on environmental sustainability which kicked off last Saturday.
"The official launch of the National Environmental Week took place during umuganda in Gatsata Sector, Gasabo with activities to clean and rehabilitate Gatsata wetland," said Dr Rose Mukankomeje, director general of the Rwanda Environment Management Agency (REMA).
She further explained the Environment week is marked by actions like greening activities in schools, offices and households as well as water management activities which includes water purification, protection of fragile ecosystems, lakes, rivers and wetlands. "We also focus on waste management, activities aimed at adaptation to the effects of climate change by all sectors of the economy and renewable energy use promotion whereby economic cooking stoves known as rondereza, biogas and solar are being promoted," Mukankomeje said.
For the Minister in charge of Natural Resources Stanislas Kamanzi, the Environment week is an opportunity for Rwandans to deal with the consequences of disasters that have ravaged the country.
"Those most affected by the disasters have received basic things, and we have established a task force for disaster management; we are mainly focusing on land management activities," Kamanzi remarked, adding that during this week, his ministry mainly focuses on land management activities such as reforestation, organic agriculture and soil erosion control. "We are also looking for a way to use technological advance in weather forecasting so that we will know about climate changes earlier and therefore we can take timely preventive measures."
Minister Kamanzi said that 10% of the country is already covered by forests forest and this drive has to continue. "Our country is becoming more and more green. Since we have stopped the use of plastic bags, we can be sure that we are breathing a safe air. However, those measures have to be consistent and sustainable," he pointed out.
The permanent secretary in Minaloc, Cyrille Turatsinze, said that currently the damage caused by floods in recent weeks stands at 32 deaths, 1434 houses destroyed, 2227 hectares of land damaged by landslides, 4 bridges damaged and 11 roads in bad condition. He further said that MINALOC has set up a task force to assess high-risk areas with a view to relocate people settled there.
The closing of the environment week by celebrating the WED will take place on June 5 in Rubavu district, Western Province.