EDITORIAL: Sewer, the best news of the decade

This town might not sink after all. There has been an ongoing joke that Kigali might one day be transformed into one giant sinkhole. The reason being that in the absence of a sewerage system, every building is obliged to provide its own septic tank.

From time to time the tanks are emptied but in some older neighbourhoods, the vehicles that empty the tanks have no access, so once one tank is full, it is sealed and another one dug beside it. So one can imagine the state of some of Kigali neighbourhoods’ underbelly; it just needs a bit of extra pressure and it gives.

Well, there is no likelihood of that happening anytime soon after the government finally unveils the long-awaited plans to build a sewerage system with a central treatment plant to be located in Gitikinyoni on the outskirts of the city.

The do-it-yourself sewerage system will not make it easy to construct new sewers, so it will be interesting to watch how the experts will make alterations to the current setup. However, new construction regulations are needed:

Every new housing project should have a sewer system in place that connects to the central grid before building begins.

Environmental impact assessments should also be included for private residences and carried out, not just handing over a piece of paper after clearing the necessary fees.

But whatever the case, it is a welcome addition in transforming Kigali into a green city, not a sinking one.


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