Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has warned residents around Lake Kivu to refrain from water pollution as a way of preserving the environment. The call was made during a recent awareness campaign on environmental protection and conservation of Lake Kivu in the districts of Rubavu, Rutsiro, Karongi, Nyamasheke and Rusizi. During a random inspection conducted by REMA, bars and restaurants near Lake Kivu were found to have limited knowledge on how to keep the lake safe from pollution, as well as setting proper waste disposals. Presently, streams which pour water into Lake Kivu still bring in waste from households including plastics. One of these rivers includes ‘Sebeya.’ This spot is one of many in which waste is still found. “We are going to set proper waste disposal and provide bins for biodegradable and non- biodegradable. But our neighbours [Goma town] should manage their waste coming on the Rwanda side too,” said Rutayisire Rukindura, a bar manager at Lake Kivu. A few business owners, like Epaphrodite Harorimana, are aware that waste should be managed and that employees be encouraged to do so. However, by the time REMA, local authorities, visited his bar, he was found with some plastic materials from his bar-restaurant. Anania Niyibeshaho, In-charge of Environment in Nyamasheke District, said one of the existing challenges “is the irregular inspection, yet not all concerned stakeholders are charged towards protecting Lake Kivu.” He added that, “We still have people farming 50 meters [buffer zone] from the lake, activities which have a negative impact on fish and those that cause soil erosion. Also, plastic bags are seen near shores.” For him, local authorities should put in more effort and be involved in protecting the lake, a resolution he said should start with households. “There is also a need for more sensitisation for the general public on pollution and waste management.” Speaking to The New Times, Jean Marie Vianney Tuyisenge, Environment Inspector at REMA, warned that water pollution is illegal, urging people to practice proper disposal of waste and sorting biodegradable and non-biodegradable as one of the measures for waste management. “In fact, measures taken and laws that ban use of plastics are in place but people do not follow them. More efforts are still needed to encourage people on pollution and how they should manage waste. People should get used to sorting waste from the source and stop throwing it away, to avoid a lot of waste coming into Lake Kivu during the rainy season. It is dangerous for aquatic and human beings,” he said. Lake Kivu is known for its fresh water, fish, and sardine locally known as ‘Isambaza,’ as well as methane gas which is looked upon for energy solutions.