Action on water, air pollution is needed now to save more lives

Friday October 29 2021
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A new report released by the Green Democratic Party shows household waste, agricultural, and industrial waste among the leading causes of water pollution in Rwanda’s longest river, Nyabarongo River.

Specifically, household waste, composed mainly of rubbish, garbage and sewage is being produced every day by city residents surrounding Nyabugogo swamp and the waste is directly released in the ravine that leads to Nyabugogo swamp.

The data revealed that the majority of the household waste is being generated higher than other means of activities that contribute to waste generating. The higher the waste generated the greater the probability of polluting water bodies nearby. Most of the respondents agreed that household waste leads to greater water pollution in Nyabarongo river at a rate of 47.8 percent.

The research shows agricultural water pollution at second place at a rate of 24.4 percent.

Nyabarongo’s landscape has many hills and mountains with occurrence of soil erosion that leads to the river and consequently results in water pollution. In fact, water scarcity is a major threat for rain-fed agriculture depending on the type of crops grown, the report shows.

The report is timely, as it comes ahead of the COP26- the Climate Change Summit scheduled to take place from October 31- November 12, in Glasgow, United Kingdom.


Climate change is already having a massive effect on many parts of the world.

At this stage, we are already experiencing drastic weather patterns such as short rain season, droughts and flood-inducing downpours, sometimes one after another.

Unless we make it a priority to improve measures to adapt to climate change's devastating effects and minimise pollution, the situation is likely to get worse.

We know that the most vulnerable are at the greatest risk from climate change. Action to address both water and air pollution is needed now, before more people lose their lives or livelihoods.

We need more action to avert, minimise and address the loss and damage that is already occurring to our environment.

Rwanda ratified the Montreal Protocol in 2003 and the Kigali Amendment in 2017. Since then, a number of different activities have been implemented to protect the environment.

However, as the report shows, the government has to do more including law enforcement: implementing the law concerning the maintenance of all rivers in common: the interval of ten meters to the river is considered as buffer zone of that river, no one or any activity is allowed to be done in that area unless it is concerned with environmental management of that area.