New report raises red flag over lack of waste treatment system in cities

The City of Kigali and the six secondary cities suffer the most from lack of centralised waste treatment facilities as well as systems to recycle solid waste collected from these urban areas.

This was cited in the new State of Environment Outlook released Thursday which focused on how to achieve sustainable urbanization in Rwanda.

Released by Rwanda Environment Management (REMA), the report focused on the City of Kigali and six secondary cities; Musanze, Rubavu, Nyagatare, Rusizi, Muhanga and Huye.

Secondary cities were established by government to serve as poles of future population and economic growth hence reducing pressure on the city of Kigali.

However, despite the projected increase of population both in the City of Kigali and secondary cities, not much has been done to ensure green city and sustainable urbanization, according to the report.

According to the report, the urban population served by waste collection services is at 35.8 percent while solid waste management is still an issue across all the cities.

Besides, 95 percent of the population in the City of Kigali use biomass fuel for cooking, according to the report.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Coletha Ruhamya, REMA’s Director General said that apart from individual waste treatment plants in major building complexes, the country has no single centralised plant.

“We have good procedures and mechanisms to collect waste from the generation point but we don’t really have a disposal site that can cater for all the waste that is generated from our cities,” she added.

The City if Kigali only has Nduba landfill located in Nduba sector in Gasabo district which collects only around 35.8 percent of the city garbage, according to the report.

Other secondary cities also struggle to have designated landfills, leaving most of the garbage dumped everywhere.

She said however that there is a hope for a centralised treatment plant in the future because government has already secured funds to set it up.

Ruhamya advised the scale up of mixed systems such as using septic tanks and semi-centralized systems which are being implemented in some of the major building complexes.

She however said that there are still difficulties because these systems are imported and lack monitoring, evaluation and maintenance after they are set up, leaving them almost nonfunctional.

“We want to really advocate for semi-centralized systems where it is possible but a centralised system actually will be the best option,” she said.

According to Eric Bugingo Sabiti, the corporate division manager at the ministry of environment said master plans for cities are under review to cater for all aspects including environment protection.

“The master plan review of the City of Kigali and secondary cities is being done and will soon be completed and all infrastructure settings will comply with it,” he said

There are also plans to conduct a feasibility study to revise Nduba landfill and there are plans to construct centralised sewage system which will soon be constructed to cater for sewage treatment,” he added

Recycle and reuse

According to Yves Sangwa, the in charge of Environmental Planning and management consultant at UN Habitant, there is need for the cities to ensure proper planning and implementation during the construction, water and energy distribution as well as sanitation and water treatment.

“In sanitation and waste management there is need for improved sanitation services, waste management by reduce, recycle, reuse and recover,” said Sangwa.

He said such actions would also offer jobs creation in the waste management industry and improved health and hygiene of the inhabitants.