20 March 2019

Rwanda: New Bid to Crack Down on Projects That Pollute the Environment

Rwanda Association of Professional Environmental Practitioners has been launched, with an aim to improve professionalism on assessing the impact of different projects on the environment.

The regulation of experts, who carry out environmental impact assessment, has been under the Rwanda Management Authority (REMA), but now the new association of professional environmental practitioners will take over the role.

Among other duties it is charged with licensing and imposing fines on errant professionals.

Coletha Ruhamya, the Director General of REMA, said that poor assessment of environment impact leads the projects to pollute the environment while harming people's health.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the assessment of the environmental consequences of actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action.

"Those who design poor and unprofessional studies guiding projects on environment protection will be fined by the association or be unlicensed following the rules and criteria established by themselves. The association is complementary to us as we want to make sure that every environmental business follows green growth principles," she said.

Egide Nkuranga, the Chairman of the Association, said that it will strengthen the expertise and professionalism in the sector to ensure that the development projects don't pollute the environment.

"The issues that were caused by lack of the self-regulation is that every environmental practitioner could design or analyse the studies alone and when they face loopholes, there was no clear way to hold them accountable. We will be following each of them to ensure every project starts without loopholes that can cause environmental pollution," he said.

He said that the practitioners will also intervene in ensuring that the already established projects do not pollute the environment.

He was commenting on various reports on businesses that pollute the environment, including toxic waste into water bodies.

Dr Vincent Biruta, the Minister for Environment, said that; "We expect good quality proposals that guide projects on curbing pollution on environment before deciding the implementation," he said.

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