Fuel emissions from vehicles ranks amongst the worst air pollutants, though most vehicle owners drive along the country’s roads are not aware of the impact of exhaust fumes on the environment.
But this is set to change if the Institute of Scientific Technological Research (IRST), in partnership with the Rwanda National Police (RNP), releases research findings on air pollution, especially those emitted by automobiles in the country.
The two institutions yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate in areas of biodiesel production and marketing, environmental protection, pollution control and human health safety among others.
The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Stanley Nsabimana, observed that environmental degradation and climate change are the main barriers in achieving the country’s medium and long term development aspirations enshrined in the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) and Vision 2020, respectively.
“This recognition has been translated into a resolve by the government to effectively control pollution, conserve biodiversity and restore productive ecosystems,” Nsabimana said.
“Everything is about sensitisation. If the research is conclusive, owners of vehicles which emit fumes above the required standard, will be given a timeline to replace their engines,” said Nsabimana.
Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution globally leading to climate change.
The principal greenhouse gases associated with road transport are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).
Nsabimana added that the partnership will also help in capacity building by training the force’s technical team, including how to repair biodiesel engines and their maintenance.
Dr. Jean Baptiste Nduwayezu, the Director General of IRST, acknowledged that the research would also help in reducing gas emissions.
“We want to share the expertise with the police to fast-track the country’s development. For example, the street light poles were white, but they are now black because of gas emissions,” Nduwayezu observed.
He explained that IRST had developed a business plan which runs up to 2025 that will see Rwanda become a sustainable producer of biodiesel.
Currently, the institute produces only 2,000 litres daily against Rwanda diesel imports of 166.5 million litres annually.
“By 2025, we will have drastically reduced on the amount of fuel imported,” said Nduwayezu