Rutsiro residents cautioned against illegal mining

Minister of Environment Vincent Biruta addressing residents of Rutsiro last yesterday. (James Peter Nkurunziza )

Residents of Rutsiro District were on Wednesday sensitized against environment-related crimes, especially illegal mining, in a campaign organised by Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB).

Addressing the residents, the Secretary General of RIB, Colonel Jeannot Ruhunga said that environmental degradation the environment, but may also lead to loss of life, especially in the case of illegal mining.

“The environment is destroyed in various ways including deforestation, mining, bush burning, settling in swamps among others without following the legal procedures,’’ he noted.

According to Ruhunga, just this year so far, a total of 50 people have been killed through illegal mining activities, while 41were injured countrywide.

In Rutsiro District alone, he said eight deaths have been recorded with nine injuries, with just five months into the year.

Part of the audience at the sensitisation campaign against environmental destruction in Rutsiro yesterday (James Peter Nkurunziza)

He said that in 2017, a total of 231 cases were recorded all over the country and 513 people were arrested and in the Western Province, while 97 cases were reported and 13 arrests were made.

However, he noted, there was a reduction of fatalities in 2018, where 225 cases were recorded country wide.

The Western Province had 81 cases and Rutsiro had just 10 which showed a great improvement.

In the event that was also attended by the Minister of Environment Vincent Biruta urged Rutsiro residents to always inform security bodies such as the police, RIB, and local leaders in case they notice anyone engaged in environmental destruction.

He noted that it is the role of everyone to make sure that the environment is kept safe.

Biruta also thanked Rwandans for having adapted to the ban of polythene bags throughout the country, saying this has greatly helped the environment and made the country a model in enforcing the ban.

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