Lake Kivu fish are safe, REMA reassures

No aquatic lives were affected by the 40,000 litres petrol truck that sunk into Lake Kivu on Thursday, February 13 according to Eng. Coletha Ruhamya, Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA). 

Rwanda National Police (RNP), said the accident that happened in Nyamasheke District, Western Province was caused by the fatigued driver who ended up veering off the road, as he was coming from Kigali heading to Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

However, the driver- who was the only one in the vehicle survived.

REMA noted that the situation was immediately followed-up to ensure the safety of aquatic lives.

“Our team immediately went to the ground to help, and they are still there as we speak. We worked together with authorities including those who monitor Lake Kivu and, so far there is minimum petrol floating over the water,” Ruhamya said.

She added: “The petrol will evaporate soon. Therefore, we think that it didn’t affect aquatic lives, because some of them (aquatic species) immediately shift to other locations within the water.”

Scientifically, water is denser than petrol, and when petrol is little it floats over the water.

The coming into contact with water and petrol would prevent oxygen from reaching to living organisms in the water, resulting in the death of these species.

The above would also affect the lives of people who border the lake because many of them get a living from fishing activities.

David Krasner, Gas Production Manager of Kivuwatt, which is helping authorities in this regard , said activities of pumping out petrol from the truck ends Saturday, February 16th.

 “We managed to pump out 75 percent of the petrol from the truck so as to make it (the truck) lighter and pull it out without causing further contaminating water, and by tomorrow we expect to have finished these activities,” he told The New Times on Friday night.

Krasner also added that: “The only fuel that came into contact with water is the one in the vehicle itself and not the one it was loaded with. And it was very little.”

REMA reiterated that after the truck is removed from the water, they will take a sample of the water to measure the level of contamination and take appropriate measures after looking at the findings.

Rwanda National Police figures show that every year, they register over 5,000 road accidents that kill more than 500 people while over 2,000 survive with serious injuries and 4,000 with minor injuries.

At least 80 percent of these accidents are caused by reckless human behaviors.

In response to this, RNP inaugurated a 52-week long road safety awareness campaign, Gerayo Amahoro that so far reduced these accidents to 4,661 cases in 2019, from 5,661 that were recorded in 2018, an equivalent of 17 percent reduction.

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