The World environment day, celebrated on June 5, yesterday saw various activities, geared towards protecting forests, in line with this year’s theme; Forests-Nature At Your Service.
In Rwanda, organizations both private and public are planting trees to increase forest cover in the country. Trees play a vital role in the war against climate change, and contribute to the well being of people through, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide.
However, trees are being cut down for energy purposes and this runs the risk of depleting the forests. To bring this to an end, it is important that the efforts to shift from using firewood to other sources of energy, especially renewable energy should be intensified.
While some schools and prisons, today, use biogas for cooking, there are many more institutions that still rely heavily on firewood.
The switch from firewood to biogas, and other renewable sources of energy, is imperative, as agriculture is the backbone of our economy and preserving the precious topsoil is of paramount importance.
This preservation isn’t going to be possible if we continue to use firewood, and charcoal, as the primary cooking fuel.
Trees have to be felled to provide this energy and without sufficient tree cover, topsoil will continue to run off, muddying our rivers and wasting our precious resource.
While converting from wood fuel to bio and natural gas is expensive in the short term, it will prove to be cost effective in the middle to long term.
The Government has put a lot of emphasis on protecting the environment, from banning polythene bags, to launching re-forestation programmes and encouraging the building of terraces. Shifting to other sources of energy is one initiative that needs to be supported and accelerated.