KIGALI - It's widely considered one of the most polluted waterways in Rwanda, blocked with garbage, human sewage and agricultural waste, but Nyabarongo will soon be flowing with clean waters.
The river, which flows through 17 districts of Rwanda and empties into River Kagera, is gathering unprecedented attention from environmentalists, including a revelation last week to invest US $6m for three years in the cleanup exercise.
According to Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), the money will be provided by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and 500 youths are expected to be employed as part of the work force earmarked for the conservation and de-intoxication of the river.
This was revealed during the launch of the three-year project in Ruhango district where over 40 kilometres of the river banks were planted with reeds and bamboo trees in an effort to safeguard the water body.
In her speech, the Executive Director of REMA, Dr Rose Mukankomeje, attributed the poor state of the river to the activities which have degraded River Nyabarongo.
She appealed to the youth, who are at the helm of this project, to do the work with commitment and responsibility because on top of earning money from the project, a river with clean waters benefits them too.
“Conservation of River Nyabarongo is a direct responsibility of everyone, especially those who stay near it. It is therefore a challenge to you to revive its natural beauty and shape,” she appealed
She pointed out that if everyone participates in planting the reeds and bamboo trees around the river, prevent soil erosion and stop destructive farming methods, with time Nyabarongo will regain its cleanness.
The Governor of the Southern Province, Fidel Ndayisaba, pledged unlimited support to the success of the project, which he said will bear fruits.
It is planned that in between the reeds and bamboo, the locals will plant fruits for home consumption and commercial purposes, which will also contribute to their domestic incomes.