Rwanda: Four Kivu Resorts Closed for Violating Biodiversity Regulations

Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has closed four resorts and halted farming activities after they were found to be in a 50-meter range from Kivu Lake buffer zone.

REMA declined to reveal the names of the four resorts.

The operation which took place on August 3, was conducted in partnership with Rwanda National Police and Rwanda Investigation Bureau.

Banned activities were found in all five districts bordering Kivu Lake, including Rubavu, Rusizi, Nyamasheke, Karongi and Rutsiro.

REMA said the crackdown intended to inspect whether the people observed water bodies protection law which reserves 50 metres from lake banks.

Human activities in the buffer zone can cause harm to biodiversity in water, such as shrinking fish produce in lakes, according to REMA.

The protection body also said that fertilizers and pesticides used in farming can flow into lakes when rain falls and kill biodiversity.

Of 23 lakes in Rwanda, apart from Kivu, investigations into buffer zone encroachment are conducted regularly on lakes of Muhazi, Mugesera, Burera and Ruhondo.

Article 49 of the Environmental law N°48/2018 of 13/08/2018 stipulates that activities which pollute and damage water bodies are illegal and must be removed.

The law says that fines for those who pollute lakes range between Rwf500,000 and Rwf5 million, and can be taken to court as well.

Polluting lakes could reduce fish production in the country since fish reproduction takes place on coasts of lakes.

Kivu produced 18,879 tons of fish in 2018, contributing by 70 per cent to total fish production.

The production is expected to triple to 112,000 tonnes by 2024 in a move that aims at reducing imports which, sometimes, do not meet the desired quality, according to Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB).

RAB's statistics indicate that the country imports more than 15,000 tonnes per year.

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