NYARUGURU- The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Stanislas Kamanzi, has called upon residents living in areas surrounding Nyungwe National Park in the Western Province, to protect the forest as they are its primary beneficiaries.
He was speaking Tuesday during a ceremony to commission more than five houses built for the needy in Kivu Sector, Nyaruguru District.
The minister warned residents that degrading Nyungwe would lead to a loss of a key asset and its accompanying benefits.
“It will lead to deprivation of water sources in this area and you will no longer be able to breathe the fresh air you are used to presently,” Kamanzi warned residents.
“Instead of going to cut down trees in the forest, you should start planting your own”.
He further advised residents to use low energy consuming stoves to reduce high energy consumption.
The houses were constructed with the support of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), as part of efforts to showcase environmentally friendly means of building houses.
They were constructed using bricks and roof tiles made from hand-held machinery that the environmental parastatal donated to the local community.
“It is a way of showing the population around Nyungwe National Park that they can live in harmony with the environment by moulding construction materials including bricks and roof tiles without causing harm to the forest,” observed Dr Rose Mukankomeje, the Director General of REMA.
Most of the beneficiaries, who previously lived in thatched houses, expressed their delight.
“I used to live a difficult life. I could not sleep well because when it rained, my roof leaked. Sometimes, I could not even get a place to cook food as the house was flooded with water,” Domitile Nyirandagijimana, 50, and a widowed mother of five narrated.
“But now, I will be able to cook and sleep peacefully,” she observed, as she stood in front of her glittering new house.