[LETTERS] Check environmental degradation in refugee camps

I have noticed, from the visit of Malala Yousafzai to Mahama Refugee Camp, last week, that the photos show serious environmental degradation at the camp, especially the use of some substance whose usage has been outlawed on Rwandan territory.

Editor,

RE: “University education for Burundian refugees in the offing” (The New Times, July 17).

REMA should treat refugee crisis and environmental impacts simultaneously.

I have noticed, from the visit of Malala Yousafzai to Mahama Refugee Camp, last week, that the photos show serious environmental degradation at the camp, especially the use of some substance whose usage has been outlawed on Rwandan territory.

For over a decade now, Rwanda banned the usage of non-biodegradable plastic bags in the country and this ban has been closely monitored by multiple agencies especially the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).

However, from Malala’s visit, I noticed use of those abolished plastic bags, which are being used for packaging of merchandise like cooking oil.

This will result into environmental degradation which will only set us back on the gains we have made on this front.

This practice also spoils the image of our country, which has long been seen as the example when it comes to enforcing laws on preserving the environment. Of course, as Rwandans we shall remain hospitable to our brothers and sisters suffering from conflict in neighbouring countries – like the case of the Burundians at Mahama – but I believe we can find way to do this without compromising the environment.

Yulian

 

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