Suspended leather factory to reopen in October

A facility that is part of Kigali Leather Factory located in Bugesera District. File.

Kigali Leather factory, a skin tanning and leather company that was suspended in May for polluting Akagera River, could resume operations in October this year.

The factory had clandestinely buried a pipe underground that was discharging waste water and other waste directly into Akagera River in contravention of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) that had ordered them to build a waste water treatment plant.

Akagera River is Lake Victoria’s main tributary contributing 75 per cent of the water.

Speaking to The New Times on Monday, Yuan Wang, the Managing Director of Kigali Leather, said: “After we were suspended, we ordered for machinery to build the waste water treatment plant. The equipment has already arrived and we are waiting for engineers to build the system,” he said.

“The installation will take one month and by early October we will have resumed operations”.

It had been expected that the system would cost $500,000 but he said it could surpass that figure.

At full production, the factory produces more than 3,000 pieces of wet blue leather and 1,500 finished leather per one week.

Remy Duhuze, REMA’s Director of Environmental Regulations & Pollution Control, told The New Times that after suspending the factory, they inspected it again to look into the progress.

“We have agreed with the factory on what to do in line with Environmental Impact Assessment and they have now imported machinery from China. After installing, we will assess its operational capacity,” he said.

He explained that REMA and the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) are closely working together to ensure that each factory, gets waste water treatment system.

“Some factories do not need such systems because they do not produce huge amounts of waste water, but those that do so need to have the system. The leather factories need the system because they discharge waste water mixed with a lot of toxic chemicals,” he said.

According to figures from Rwanda Clean Production Centre, from 2008 to 2016, industries that had adopted efficient and clean production technologies had saved $2.8 million and reduced 3,288 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and 131,358 cubic meters of waste water.