Local engineers have announced plans to come up with new technologies that will help to turn wastes into construction materials not only to ensure a pollution-free environment but also reduce importation.
This was one of the initiatives announced by participants at the engineers’ conference which concluded yesterday in Kigali.
Papias Kazawadi Dedeki, the head of Institute of Engineers Rwanda, said though systems used in disposing wastes are poor there is need for knowledge sharing on current situation to come up with its sustainable effective management.
He urged fellow engineers to use experience from the conference and their skills to develop improved waste management systems with less threat to the environment.
“I don’t think waste should now be a problem to our communities anymore. It is good that we have dumping sites, but the problem remains what to do with the disposed waste. We have to find new systems that can help us turn waste into resources,” he added.
He called for more awareness in waste recycling and sorting in the community while improving capacity among engineers for better and reliable solution.
According to the 2012 World Bank’s report, 3 billion urban residents were generating about 1.2 kilogrammes per person per day (1.3 billion tonnes per year).
This poses a big threat with growing number of urban residents.
Urban residents are projected to increase to 4.3 billion by 2025, generating about 1.42 kilogrammes of municipal solid waste per day, resulting into 2.2 billion tonnes per year.
Poorly disposed waste is blamed for air and water pollution, and soil contamination which lead to unpleasant environment.
In Kigali, for instance, Nduba dumpsite in Gasabo District receives about 400 tonnes per day of unsorted waste of which plastics constitute 5 per cent or 20 tonnes per day.
This implies that a total of 7300 tonnes of plastics are dumped at the site every year.
Gitare Mugabo, a fresh engineering graduate and a colleague, developed new technology for recycling high-density polyethylene into construction materials.
He said young engineers should come up with solutions for waste control in Rwanda.
Mugabo said their plan next year is to start recycle wastes of jerry cans and bottles to make pavers and bricks of high tensile strength, and low moisture absorption.
“We want to prove that plastic wastes are not a problem to the country’s environment anymore but rather a new resource through which we can make construction materials that can compete on the market. The young generation like us, too, should feel the same and innovate new systems that cannot only rid Rwanda of environment pollution but also create new jobs for the youth,” he said.
Coletha Ruhamya, the director general of Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA), said high cost of imported technologies on waste management, lack of professionalism, and insufficient research are among the major challenges that still hinder pollution-free environment.
She challenged engineers to design new technologies to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover waste properly for better management.
“There is need to reduce volume of wastes and instead increase resources from them.”