12 November 2012

Rwanda: Environmental Protection Is a Collective Responsibility


The Minister of Natural Resources has called for the establishment of tree planting committees at the grassroots, as a strategy to engage ordinary citizens to protect and take care of newly planted trees.

The minister made the call ahead of the launch of this year's national afforestation and reforestation campaign due this Friday.

The minister's appeal should be taken seriously because an environment without trees is a recipe for disasters.

Environment degradation on hilltops and river banks has been responsible for drought and disasters like floods witnessed in some parts of the country.

The idea of setting up tree planting committees is helpful because local communities are key stakeholders in the conservation campaign.

Through the committees, there would be a specific group responsible for the nurturing of the trees.

So far 23.7 percent of the country's surface area is covered by forests.

The government target is to have 30 percent of the country's surface area covered by forests.

It's indeed important that the government works with residents, local leaders, law enforcement authorities, districts lands and forestry officials to protect the trees.

The idea of encouraging agro forestry, where residents plant trees which are of economic importance to them is also important in environment protection. This will increase communities' participation in protecting the environment.

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