Police in fresh campaign to safeguard environment

Rwanda National Police (RNP) has begun a new campaign aimed at enhancing environmental protection mechanisms.

The police Environmental Protection Unit (EPU) has since Tuesday started engaging district officials to come up with strategies geared towards proper ecosystem management.

According to the director of EPU, Superintendent of Police David Bwimba, the campaign that started on March 27, in Kayonza District will continue across the country.

It brings together officials charged with environmental protection at the district level to discuss issues related to environment taking into account that some districts have special cases that requires special approach, Bwimba said.

“Besides the environmental protection officials, we also intend to reach out to all police station commanders, judicial police officers, the District Community Liaison Officers, district officials charged with agriculture and several other stakeholders. The motive here is to remind everyone that it’s a responsibility of everyone to protect the environment,” he said.

He however, said that the campaign will eventually be extended to other clusters of the society.

The knowledge and skills given to the trainees, according to Bwimba, will also be transferred to their colleagues at lower levels.

The campaign kicked off in Kayonza will also tackle several human activities that affect and damage the environment including illegal mining, felling trees, charcoal burning and encroachment on gazetted wetlands among others.

EPU that operates under the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is partly charged with making spontaneous inspections, conducts periodical joint operation with park managers in national parks and conduct periodical trainings on a series of environmental conservation.

In the similar context, RNP together with its partners recently embarked on a plan to plant at least 50, 000 trees across the country in the next two years as part of the implementation of the national afforestation programme.

The plan is to cover both agro-forestry land, hilly and forestry gazetted areas.

About 14, 744 hectares will be planted in the Eastern Province; 8, 415 hectares in the Northern; 9, 484 hectares in Western; 26, 035 hectares in Southern; and 2, 085 in the City of Kigali.

As of the end of last year, only 704, 997 hectares of trees had been covered, representing only 29.6 percent of the total land allocated to forests in the country.

Of this, majority 68 percent are man-made forests owned by people while national forests account for only 27 percent.


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