1. Why does REMA have a unit for Environmental education, Institutional Support and Outreach?
To give the country environmental educational, information, environmental awareness creation focuses for sustainable development. Education is at the heart of sustainable development and is therefore a key means to achieving sustainable utilization of the country’s resources.
Education is the process of imparting intellectual, moral, social skills and values to learners for a particular purpose. Education and training, both formal and non-formal, are key processes by which human beings and societies can reach their fullest potential.
2. What are REMAs Strategic actions for Environmental education, Institutional Support and Outreach?
3. What is sustainable development?
Sustainable development is defined as ‘the development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It is built on three interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars, namely social development, economic development and environmental protection. The term “Sustainable development” was coined based on the premise that pressure on the environment and natural resources has kept the state of the world’s environment fragile thereby resulting in increased poverty, unsustainable production and consumption patterns.
4. What is Education for sustainable development?
It is an emerging but dynamic concept that seeks to empower people of all ages to assume responsibility for creating, maintaining and enjoying a sustainable future. The overall aim of Education for sustainable development is to empower citizens to act for positive environmental and social change by giving people
5. At what level is Environmental Education in Rwanda especially in the formal sector?
REMA in partnership with the education sector are working around the clock carry out education for sustainable development. However there are shortcomings noticed in this field at all the levels of education and they relate to the poor integration of environmental education in education curricula at primary, secondary and higher education levels, and to lack of specialised teachers in environmental education.
6. What milestones have been reached in getting schools involved in environmental management activities?
All Secondary Schools in Rwanda have functional School environment clubs. The clubs are active in terms of carrying out activities aimed at raising environmental awareness both at school and the surrounding communities. Teachers of Biology, Geography and Chemistry have been trained by REMA to give technical support and to become patrons to the clubs.
REMA trained District environment officers, Sector agronomists, Directors and teachers of Science in Primary Schools to give technical support. We gave financial support to pilot projects by selecting one school in each Sector (Umurenge). We are spreading the environment clubs campaign to all primary schools countrywide
REMA trained representatives of University Students Leaders that will train others and consequently establish environment clubs at their respective universities.
7. Does REMA collaborate with NGOs in Environmental Outreach?
Yes and Local environment protection associations are registering with REMA to maintain a database of the associations that are practically seeking to solve environmental challenges at hand in their localities.
8. Are the activities aimed at protecting environment against development?
It is really that some people think the activities aimed to protect environment are against development. It isn’t true since development and environment, as well as social welfare are there to meet sustainable development, where we want to go. Without one of these three pillars, sustainable development can’t be achieved.
9. Do the institutions in charge of environment stop different activities without providing alternatives?
Institutions in charge of environment don’t stop development activities. On the contrary they are there to provide advices to different proponents who have to develop different projects/activities. They provide advices according to what recommend environment policies and laws.
10. Why did the Government of Rwanda ban the use of plastic bags in the country?
Plastic bags were banned because of the adverse environmental consequences due to their nature of being non-biodegradable since plastic bags used in Rwanda are non-biodegrable and very difficult to dispose of. Littered allover the place, the materials trash the beautiful scenery and aesthetic values which make the environment unpleasant. The situation leads to water pollution and land degradation which can have seriously detrimental effects on human health and animal populations.
11. What specific adverse effects do plastic bags have on the environment?
Plastic bags in Rwanda are non-biodegradable substances, difficult to decompose and in most cases act as breeding ground for vectors which spread diseases.
Plastic bags prevent water penetration into the soil which leads to low agricultural production. They are also deadly to our livestock when ingested.
When burnt, plastic bags release toxic fumes that may cause respiratory diseases
Drainage channels are clogged with plastic bags and this could cause flooding and other associated adverse environmental consequences especially during the rain season.
The materials are so light that they are easily blown away by the wind from one place to another which leads to littering of the environment.
12. What are current substitutes for plastic bags?
Banning of plastic bags has led to job creation among various people involved in weaving environmentally friendly materials such as bags made of cloth, banana fibres and palm leaves. Weaving is now an income
13. What strategies in place to ensure total ban of plastic bags in the country?
Sensitization of the population about the dangers of plastic bags to the environment has helped to awaken minds of people which in the long run has led to positive behavior change.
The community involvement in plastic ban supported by the government Authorities such as Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), custom officers in collaboration with security officers at air terminals and Rwandan boarders has stopped the importation of plastic bags.
14. What is Environmental Impact Assessment?
Environmental assessment is a procedure that ensures that the environmental implications of decisions are taken into account before the decisions are made.
The process involves an analysis of the likely effects on the environment, recording those effects in a report, undertaking a public consultation exercise on the report, taking into account the comments and the report when making the final decision and informing the public about that decision afterwards.
In principle, environmental assessment can be undertaken for individual projects such as a dam, motorway, airport or factory ('Environmental Impact Assessment') or for plans, programmes and policies ('Strategic Environmental Assessment'). The EIA procedure ensures that environmental consequences of projects are identified and assessed before authorization is given.