We can be hospitable to refugees and also conserve environment

I have noticed from the visit of Malala Yousafzai to Mahama Refugee Camp, 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 the refugee crisis and environmental impacts simultaneously.

I have noticed from the visit of Malala Yousafzai to Mahama Refugee Camp, 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 led by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).

However, from Malala's visit, I noticed that these abolished plastic bags are being used for packaging of merchandise, like cooking oil.

This will result into environmental degradation which will only roll back 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 a way in which we can do this without compromising our environment.

Yulian

 

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