Construction, manufacturing industries on the spot over air pollution

Rwamagana based steel factory, SteelRwa is one of the factories that will be inspected. / File

Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has issued a stern warning to industries that are not complying with the adoption of cleaner production technologies aimed to environmental protection and curbing air pollution.

The environmental watchdog is set to carry out inspections in various industries ahead of the World Environmental Day celebration slated on June 5.

Sunday Times has learnt that the industrial inspection activity will be carried out on June 3 and 4in the City of Kigali, Bugesera and Rwamagana districts.

The cases of pollution from industries have been occurring in various places of the country.

The recent ones include Kigali Leather Factory located in Bugesera District that had been suspended over polluting Akagera River last year.

The other incidence also occurred in Musanze District whereby massive death of fish was caused by water contamination in Mukungwa River.

Due to the incidents, REMA has vowed to crack down on industries that pollute the environment, especially water bodies

Coletha Ruhamya, the Director General of REMA said that the industrial inspection activity is going to focus on industries suspected of having high emissions and those that have been facing issues of complying with environmental protection.

Recent inventory of sources of air pollution in Rwanda indicated that emissions in industries are mainly from construction and manufacturing industries.

“A potential key source of emissions in the construction industry is from cement plants,” the study reads in part.

There are also emissions of pollutants associated with energy usage since 73% of energy consumed by the construction industries in Rwanda is from furnaces or heavy oils which are high polluting fuels.

Approximately 45% of energy consumption within the manufacturing industry is from furnace or heavy oils and 3% from wood, both of which have relatively high emissions, the inventory shows.

“We urge investors in the industrial sector to be aware that before setting up any factories, they have to comply with requirements for protecting the environment. Clean technologies are available and they should buy and use them,” Ruhamya said.

Some of the cleaner production technologies that the industries must embrace include water and solid waste management, water conservation, efficient energy use, renewable energy and others.

“Some are reluctant to use the technologies because they want immediate benefits yet there are long-term and sustainable benefits from using cleaner technologies. We ensure that those industries can benefit from both saving the cost of production and clean and green environment,” she noted.

Figures show that since 2013 when industries were called upon to start using the technologies, they have been able to cut costs and save more than $2,845,653 since 2017.

By using clean energy and energy efficient production, such industries have reduced energy consumption by about 7,528,914 megajoules while total reduction in carbon dioxide equals to 2,188.67 tonnes every year.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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