Minister Mujawamariya sends warning to wetland encroachers

Minister of Environment Jean d’Arc Mujawamariya (right) and Kigali City officials visit the former Gikondo industrial park. Courtesy.

The Minister for 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.

“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.

“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 launch 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 comes 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 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, according to schedule), the wetlands will be used for environmental and beautification purposes and, among the proposed projects is to establish here a man-made lake.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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