When it comes to conserving and protecting the environment, Rwanda does not mince its words. In the last few months, it has caused quite a few tears, especially for people who constructed buildings in marshlands.
People were given enough time to vacate but turned a deaf ear, they thought it was business as usual where local officials make noise but don’t act. How wrong they were.
Some of the most vocal people who were against the relocation failed to see the larger picture, where there is more to gain tomorrow if they make small sacrifices today.
Resisting change is a natural human trait, people tend to feel very comfortable in their cocoons, but that is easily dealt with when people are well informed. That is what the government should be doing now in preparation for a major lifestyle change.
With about 80 per cent of Rwandan households using wood fuel for cooking, plans to ban the use of charcoal in Kigali in favour of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) are bound to disrupt a few homes.
The changes are meant to reduce the cutting down of trees as well as respiratory diseases that kill an estimated 12,000 people annually.
Of course charcoal traders will complain, that is to be expected, and consumers will also raise their voices. But all that can be solved by effective communication. Most likely people will think that transitioning to gas in the kitchen will be more expensive, which is not the case.
But most importantly, people should be made aware of all the government strategies and tools to help them make a smooth transition.