Industrial waste poses health risks to Musanze residents

Tuesday January 8 2019


Some residents in Nkotsi sectors in Musanze District have voiced concern over industrial waste including that from pyrethrum processing plant SOPYRWA. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA 

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Residents of Muhoza, Cyuve, Nkotsi sectors in Musanze District have expressed concern over exposure to industrial waste, which puts them at risk to air and sound pollution.

Recently, four residents living near the pyrethrum factory in Musanze town were diagnosed with asthma and one resident to cancer, with others exposed to chronic diseases if nothing is done.

A 2016 WHO study, which examined the hazardous levels of both outdoor and household air pollution in Africa, found that “around seven million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air.”

Earlier last year at the conclusion of the 15th National Leadership Retreat, a total of 13 resolutions were reached and recommended for immediate action through the respective implementing agencies.

Among them, resolution seven recommended rapid development and expansion of secondary cities including Musanze District.

Relocation requests

However, Musanze is home to the Volcanoes National Park and a large pyrethrum factory that is focused on eco-tourism and pyrethrum agriculture. Residents have been requesting the relocation of industries from the city especially near residential places, but up to now nothing has been done.

Jean Claude Ngabonziza, a former resident of Musanze, said he decided to sell his land and move to a different area after he and his family were unable to tolerate the noise and air pollution from nearby factories.

After my son was diagnosed with asthma I asked the doctor what could be the likely cause and he recommended that we move away from factories as they emit air pollutants and irritants.

Rose Nyirandikubwimana, another resident who lives near an industrial garbage pits, said they not only face air and sound pollution, but also bad smells from the waste pits, which make life hard.

“During the rainy season, the smell becomes unbearable,” she said.

“We want the government to help us and if possible move the factories located in residential areas to industrial zones,” she added.

Joseph Muhutangabo director of One Stop Centre (OSC) in Musanze told Rwanda Today that they are aware that it is a serious problem and will ensure all factories move to industrial zones.

“There are still some activities being carried out at the industrial zone in Kimonyi sector in Musanze in order to allow companies to start construction there. Some residents hadn’t moved from the zone, but by the end of February all residents and factories will have moved and construction started,” said Mr Muhutangabo.

The entire Musanze industrial zone covers 140 hectares, but currently only Prime Cement Industry started its construction in the area with more than 18 other factories situated in the city.