Rwf690 million project to manage single-use plastics launched

The Private Sector Federation (PSF) is set to contribute Rwf690.9 million for collecting, transportation, disposal and recycling of single-use plastics in the next five years.

The project dubbed “Sustainable Management of single-use Plastics Project” was launched as Rwanda celebrated World Environment Day on Friday.

The new development is in line with Law N° 17/2019 of 10/08/2019 relating to the prohibition of manufacturing, importation, use and sale of plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items.

The law aims to protect the environment, the economy and the health of the people from throwaway plastics. Under the project PSF will support resource mobilization from the private sector institutions and make sure that every eligible institution/company contributes on time.

Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya the Minister of Environment said that the project is part of a solution to prevent and reverse the loss of biodiversity caused by plastic pollution saying it also falls within Rwanda National Environment and Climate Change Policy which sets out to promote integrated pollution control and waste management.

She said that despite the ecosystem services supporting human life in all development Sectors, critical ecosystems in Rwanda such as wetlands, forests and water sources face a lot of pressure especially with pollution, introduction of invasive species, climate change, habitat loss among others.

She said that Rwanda located in the Albertine rift is endowed with some of the World’s richest natural resources and ecosystem habitat of large number of endangered species.

These, she said, include the mountain gorillas, which are among the most charismatic flagship species in Africa. “Therefore, the need for long-term ecosystem health is urgent to achieve our Sustainable Development Goals and the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) targets. We remind all citizens to stop using illegal plastic carry bags and single-use plastic items, stop harvesting immature forests, stop illegal activities in the buffer zone of lakes, rivers and wetlands,” she said.

The 2017 report on single-use plastics and marine environment by Seas at Risk, an independent non-governmental federation of national and international environmental organizations for the protection and restoration of the marine environment confirmed that many marine bio-diversities such as fish and birds die from consuming plastic items.

According to REMA, the ban of single-use plastic items have a significant positive impact on the environment, economy and health in Rwanda. It says that the single-use plastic items pollute the environment such as blocking water channels and preventing water from penetrating into the soil, clogging water drainage systems and thus triggering flooding.

According to the 2018 UN Environment Report on Single-use plastics, the world produces more than 400 million tons of plastics every year of which only 9 per cent is recycled. If current consumption patterns and waste management practices do not improve, by 2050 there will be about 12 billion tons of plastic litter in landfills and the natural environment.

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