6 October 2017

Burundi: Lake Tanganyika Protection is Everyone's Duty, Says Second Deputy President

The issue of Lake Tanganyika pollution has been raised by different MPs when the Second Deputy President was presenting achievements of the ministries for which he is responsible for the past six months in the National Assembly. Joseph Butore says everyone should be involved in lakes' protection.

Agathon Rwasa, First Deputy-Speaker of the National Assembly says Tanganyika Lake is a resource to be protected as it is a source of life for many. He regrets its situation today: "Tanganyika Lake is a valuable source of life for us and the next generations. However, plastic and other polluting waste threaten it," says Rwasa.

Réverien Ndikuriyo, speaker of the senate, says it is regrettable to see people who keep on constructing alongside the river in violation of regulations. He suggests that there should be a plan to delimit the lake area by building a road in order to prevent such construction activities.

Joseph Butore, Second Deputy President, says there are rules-but which can't be applied without the local administration and population involvement. "There are rules but they remain theoretical if the administration and most of all population do not understand the importance of protecting the lake."

Butore insists that sensitization is the best way to ensure the protection of Lake Tanganyika. "If they don't understand that it is their responsibility to protect it, we can't make it" he says. He adds that punishment cannot resolve the problem for good. "We can go there and punish those who violate the rules but they will be the ones to throw plastic waste into the lake, extract the sand during the night,... "

He appeals to MPs to be involved and help to sensitize the population to the advantage of Lake Tanganyika protection.

"The executive can't handle it alone. You are close to the population, you meet on different occasions, they voted for you, you share the same political parties... go and let them understand that it is also their responsibility to protect not only Lake Tanganyika but also all the lakes."

However, the Second Vice President recognises that Lake Tanganyika is also polluted by waste from factories. He says the issue of SETEMU (Municipal Technical Services) pumps, which are non-functional, is now among government's priorities.

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