|RWANDA CELEBRATES WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY|
Rubavu, June 05, 2012
Rwanda has joined the rest of the world to celebrate the World Environment Day (WED). The celebrations at National level took place in Rubavu District. The celebrations were held after the community work done in Karukogo village, the current residence for the relocated families from Rubavu Mountain and the visit to the mountain now under rehabilitation.
The Minister of Natural Resources, Honorable Stanislas Kamanzi reminded of the importance of such a day in Rwandan context. He mentioned that this should be an opportunity for everyone to assess his/her role in environment protection in line with WED 2012 theme which is “Green economy: does it include you?” Honorable Kamanzi mentioned that the sustainable development can only be reached if the environment is properly managed. With reference to the recent environmental hazards, Honorable Minister highlighted different challenges environment is still facing including the inappropriate settlements, uncontrolled erosion and others. “We cannot change the way the world is but we can change the way we live on it by focusing on the sustainability of what we do” the Minister said. The Minister also condemned different bad practices including the use of illegal nets in fishing in Lake Kivu. Honorable Kamanzi called for best practices of Environment protection starting from the schools. The Minister further commended the activities of the rehabilitation of Rubavu Mountain and asked that this should serve as a model to all the areas in the country that need rehabilitation and recommended the well use of infrastructure given to the relocated families.
The Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority, Dr. Rose Mukankomeje hailed the achievements in environment protection as well as the contribution of Rwandans across the country. The Director General also mentioned the available environment challenges and recommended continued ownership of environment protection.
During the World Environment Day Celebrations, best students in greening school competition in both essay writing and drawings in line with WED 2012 theme were awarded. The competition was organized in four districts namely Burera, Musanze, Nyabihu and Rubavu. Three best students in each discipline were awarded with solar lamps, school kits and other materials.
Rubavu District hosts WED celebrations at national level, following rehabilitation activities of Rubavu Mountain since November 2011. The exercise followed the relocation of 1200 families which used to face heavy landslides that claimed the lives of some. The Karukogo and Kanembwe villages are the new residences for the relocated families. Twenty most vulnerable families got houses built under REMA’s support in partnership with Rubavu District.
Months after their relocation, former residents of the mountain have observed changes in their living standards according to their own testimony. “Now we can sleep while it is raining without fear of being deported by the landslides and our families are in safe and comfortable houses” Mentioned Alexia Musasangohe representing one of the families in Karukogo village.
Rubavu rehabilitation is a result of cooperation between REMA, Reserve force and Rubavu District. Starting from November 2011, the first phase of rehabilitation, worth 140,000,000 Rwf, saw different activities including tree planting of different kinds specifically bamboo, filao and other kinds on a surface of 62.5 hectares, while pavements of 10 kilometres were established as well as some 2.5 hectares covered with pasperam and 31 with kikuyu glass. The rehabilitation activities aim to promote ecotourism by protecting the environment.
2012 is the 40th year Rwanda celebrates WED and the 19th time Rwanda commemorates the National Environment Week.