The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), on Friday, announced that it was going to crack down on individuals and organizations degrading the environment.
In close partnership with the Police, the environmental organ is going to enforce punitive measures which include fines and prison sentences as a deterrent against those that are found guilty of destroying the environment.
According to REMA, some of the prohibited, yet common activities include building on wetlands, burning and felling of trees, as well as spitting and smoking in public.
While the law provides for punitive measures and REMA has the authority to deal with the culprits, environmental protection requires a lot more than the use of force.
Massive sensitization campaigns have to, continuously, be implemented. Environmental matters require constant sensitization. The messages on how to protect the environment should be perennial.
REMA will have to come up with effective communication strategies, implementing one campaign after the other, until the public understands what they should do or, not do, in the interest of environmental protection.
There is no doubt that communication accounts for a large percentage of the budgets for such organizations, however, to influence and sustain behavior change, it’s imperative that the flow of messages remains constant.