Swamps are to Rwanda what kidneys are to humans - Minister

Wetlands
Wetlands help to filter water in the same way kidneys help to filter blood. /Courtesy photos

The Minister of Environment, Jeanne D’Arc Mujawamariya, has warned people and institutions against dumping soil and garbage in vacated wetlands.

She sounded the warning  Monday while visiting the former industrial zone in Gikondo which is being vacated for environmental reasons where she found a Chinese construction company had been dumping soil.

Minister Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya donned white boots with other officials standing where Rwandex once stood in Gikondo.

"I have seen that our wetlands are being abused. Dumping soil here renders swamps unable to breathe. So, we ask you to stop any activities of levelling or dumping soil here and in other swamps," said Minister Mujawamariya who was accompanied by the head of Traffic Police, Commissioner of police Rafiki Mujiji and city officials.

“They [wetlands] are to a country what kidneys are to humans. Wetlands help to filter water in the same way a human’s kidney helps to filter blood.”

According to the minister, Gikondo wetland is not the only one being abused.

"Yesterday I passed by Giti Cy'inyoni and saw mounds of soil there too."

World Wetlands Day

In a message addressed to the general public at the inauguration of Rwanda Wetlands week on January 25, Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) said that wetlands are being destroyed by human activities three times higher than forests.

The message was passed a week before Rwanda and the world celebrate the world wetlands day held on February 2 every year.

Research says that biodiversity in wetlands was drastically shrinking to an extent never recorded before due to the extreme pollution which is three times higher than in forests.

Rwanda passed - and is currently implementing - a law to expropriate all activities in wetlands. Over 7,000 human activities including homes, heavy and light industries, garages and warehouses and businesses in Kigali alone were located in wetlands. Recent figures showed that over 60 per cent have been evacuated since late-2019.

Once completely vacated (by March), the wetlands will be used for environmental and beautification purposes.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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