Communities supposed to be worried about the fate of Rwanda’s most significant river are actually the ones who are its biggest threat, a new study suggests.
The findings of a research commissioned by the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR) shows that the waste produced in our homes is biggest cause of why it has a “signature identify, dark-brown water”.
Nyabarongo River is a major river in Rwanda, with a total length of 351 km (218 miles) the longest river in Rwanda. The river begins its course at the confluence of the rivers Mbirurume and Mwogo in south west of the country. Flowing north, then southeast passing Kigali.
The Green Party study released Saturday says solid wastes, rubbish, garbage and sewage are being produced everyday by our urban society – some of it ending up in Nyabarongo river.
Nearly half of respondents (45.6%) interviewed for the study said household waste was to blame for the river’s fate.
Other source of waste polluting the river highlighted include industrial wastes 15.6%, wastes from car garage 13.3%, crop harvesting 7.8%, and wastes from livestock 6.7%.
The study was done by Dr Gashumba Damascene, an environment researcher and campaigner.
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Green Party leader Dr Frank Habineza said they will not stop agitating until action is taken to clean up river Nyabarongo.
“As a political party and as Parliamentarians, we are going to continue to advocate for the implementation of the environmental law directives,” he said.
“We will do that in Parliament, Political Organizations Consultative Forum, the media and wherever we have an opportunity to do so.”
“The law dictates 30 meters buffer zone from all rivers and lakes , to do agricultural activities but local authorities do not enforce that. This has to change.”
The research says many actions such as planting bamboos around the River are being implemented to protect the River but that such actions face challenges as they are not enforced widely by the authorities.
The findings are surprising because existing information has put most of the blame for Nyabarongo’s problems on industrial and mining waste which is poured into the river upstream where there are dozens of mining companies.