National Environment Week Encourages Rwandans to Beat Air Pollution
The 2019 National Environment Week has been organised from 25 May - 5 June 2019 to draw attention to the challenges posed by air pollution and encourage efforts to improve the quality of the air we breathe. National Environment Week comes ahead of the annual World Environment Day, which will be celebrated on 5 June 2019 under the theme ‘Beat Air Pollution’.
Air pollution is the leading environmental threat to human health. Today, 90% of people globally breathe polluted air and approximately seven million people die from air pollution related causes every year. Air pollution costs the global economy US $5 trillion in welfare costs annually and ground-level ozone pollution is expected to reduce staple crop yields by 26 per cent by 2030.
In Rwanda, more than 2,200 deaths were attributed to ambient air pollution in 2012 and the number of hospital admissions for acute respiratory infections in health centres across the country increased to 3,331,300 in 2015, up from 1,682,321 in 2012.
Air pollution isn’t only a danger to human health and economic growth. Many air pollutants are also fuelling the climate crisis. As a result, Rwanda has put in place measures to address air pollution including regular car-free day events, motor vehicle inspections, subsidies for the use of LPG as an alternative to charcoal for cooking fuel, and establishing the African Air Quality and Climate Laboratory in Kigali. The country has also introduced laws and policies regulating air pollution and recently validated vehicle and thermal power plant emissions standards.
By reducing air pollution, we will also reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, as well as improve our natural environment and address the climate crisis.
“Beating air pollution is a priority for Rwanda. We know the causes, impacts and solutions. Our task now is to raise awareness about the best ways to address air pollution and work with partners to enforce the country’s strong regulations on pollution. By working together, we can ensure the air we breathe is clean and free of dangerous pollutants,” said Eng. Coletha Ruhamya, Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority.
National Environment Week - Major Activities
During National Environment Week, the following activities have been organised to raise awareness about the solutions to air pollution:
25 May: Umuganda (Community Work) Discussion on Air Pollution, Countrywide
28 May: Solar Power Installation in Kagogo Sector, Burera District
29 May: Mobile Motor Vehicle Inspection by the Rwanda National Police, Kigali
30 May: Air Pollution Seminar, Kigali SERENA Hotel
31 May: National Environment Week Football Tournament Final, Rutsiro District
2 June: Car Free Day Event, Countrywide
3-4 June: Industrial Inspection Activity in Kigali, Bugesera and Rwamagana
5 June: World Environment Day Celebration, Kigali Convention Centre
2019 World Environment Day Celebrations
2019 World Environment Day will be celebrated on 5 June 2019 to raise awareness on air pollution and measures to mitigate it. A high level dialogue will be organised on greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in Rwanda. At this occasion, initiatives and innovations in air pollution, plastic management and wise use of wetlands will be recognised and awarded.
What can we do to address air pollution?
To ensure clean air for us all to breathe, Rwandans are encouraged to do the following:
Plant and protect forests, which play a vital role in purifying the air we breathe
Use clean energy to cook, such as gas, electricity or energy efficient stoves
Instead of driving, walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible
Consider using public transport rather than individual cars
If you own a car, ensure it is well maintained and inspected regularly and keep the tires properly inflated
Replace energy-hungry incandescent lights with compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs
Limit the use of air conditioners and instead opt for natural ventilation
Avoid burning the leftovers from the harvest, and instead turn them into compost
Industries are encouraged to employ new technologies to minimise air pollutants. Local authorities are also encouraged to work with civil society and the private sector to improve waste management, including its collection, separation and processing to reduce air pollution from waste.
Josee Umubyeyi, Public Relations & Communications Officer, Ministry of Environment, on +250 788 455 198 or at email@example.com.
Germaine Mukasibo, Public Relations & Communications Officer, Rwanda Environment Management Authority, on +250 788 775 456 firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Environment Week Detailed Programme
22 May 2019
Press Conference on WED 2019 and National Environment Week (NEW)
25 May 2019
Launch of 2019 National Environment Week
27 May 2019
Plastic Pollution Inspection
28 May 2019
Solar power installation to reduce indoor pollution
29 May 2019
Motor Vehicle Inspection Campaign
30 May 2019
Seminar and Study Tour on Air Pollution in Rwanda
31 May 2019
Finals of Football Match
2 June 2019
Raising awareness on air pollution during mass sport on Car Free Day of first Sunday of June
Venue: Kimihurura (RRA), Maison des Jeunes Kimisagara, ULK Gisozi, IPRC Kicukiro
3-4 June 2019
Industrial Air pollution inspection
5 June 2019
World Environment Day 2019 Celebration
Panel discussions: High level dialogue on SDGs and air pollution nexus
Launching the Third National Communication with a High Level dialogue on strategies to curb emissions and air pollution
Awarding winners of environmental competitions
Venue: Kigali Convention Centre
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