Some 1,631.5kg of expired pesticides were on Tuesday incinerated at Musha, Rwamagana District. The chemicals came from Kigali city.
The drive is a joint action by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and the Rwanda Investigation Bureau.
According to REMA, pesticides pose great risks to humans and the environment when not properly used, but so does obsolete pesticides when not eliminated in an appropriate way.
Eliezer Ndizeye Rusakana, from the department of pollution control and environmental regulation at REMA, and focal point of Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, said the incineration was the best way to eliminate the pesticide.
The exercise was done at Rwamagana Eye Hospital in Musha. The chemicals are properly incinerated at temperatures of over 1,200 degrees C.
“Everything must be burnt at a certain temperature, when they are not properly incinerated, they may produce poisonous air; the most pollutant substances in the pesticides incineration process are dioxin and phylane,” he explained.
Common after effects include respiratory diseases, cancer, damage to the nervous system, damage to reproductive system (especially for males), irritation to the eyes, among others.
In the environment, they can pollute the soil, air and water, which can eventually affect human health.
It is the first time that REMA carries out the exercise, but the Ministry of Health has been regularly doing it to eliminate substandard and expired medications.
From 2005 to 2010, all obsolete pesticides were buried because there were no incinerators, said Rusakana.
“Burying the pesticides is temporarily solving the problem because they remain there, but when incinerated, they are removed forever,” he said.
Rusakana advised people to always check on the expiry date before purchasing pesticides and take precautions while using them.
“Using the pesticides requires exceptional ways, you should handle them with gloves, with kit covering the nose, to avoid getting contaminated,” he warned.