RWANDA – The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have launched a five-year project to improve hazardous waste management.

The project, which will be funded with US$7 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), aims to protect human and environmental health.

Part of the GEF funding will be used to develop a legal framework for the sound management of chemicals, hazardous and toxic waste and safer alternatives

The five-year initiative (2022-2027) will enhance the introduction of “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle and Recover” approach in priority industries and economic sectors, to ensure the sound management of waste.

The project will also support in identifying the types, volumes and locations of chemicals, toxic and hazardous waste generation, and identify key sectors such as industries, healthcare, pharmacies, and agriculture, among others.

In addition, it will support the establishment of hazardous waste treatment facilities including interim storage, as well as raise awareness on the sound management of waste at all levels.

Juliet Kabera, Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority said: “This project will support Rwanda to inventory and understand the quantities and types of hazardous in the country.

“It will also raise awareness of the different categories of people who are at the center of generating wastes and come up with best disposal mechanisms for hazardous wastes which will then create green jobs in the process of collection, transportation and disposal.”

According to the Minister of Environment, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya the project will help the country implement the National Circular Economy Action Plan and roadmap launched two days ago.

“This project came at the right time when we look for sustainable solutions to minimize waste generated, strengthening our policies and strategies that promote sustainable production and consumption,” said Mujawamariya.

This initiative is part of the efforts the East African nation has made toward a circular economy.

The country has made great steps forward in managing waste from banning plastic bags in 2008 and establishing the e-waste recycling facility in 2018.

“However, we are still learning and strengthening our mechanisms to have a carbon-neutral economy by 2050,” added Minister Mujawamariya

“Nevertheless, there are still shortcomings that are exposing the country to severe impacts of improper waste management including hazardous wastes.”

As a fast-growing economy with rapid urbanization, Rwanda is experiencing an increase in the amount of domestic and municipal waste, as well as the increase of toxic, hazardous, and chemical wastes from Industrial and economic sectors.

Currently, Rwanda is dumping 122 tonnes of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) oil in transformers, 250 tonnes of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated soil, 3 tonnes of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) pesticides, 44 tonnes of non-persistent organic pollutants (POPs) pesticides, 35 tonnes of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), 1 metric tonne of mercury (Hg), and 40 tonnes of mercury-containing products in the environment, according to REMA.

The project will prevent chemicals containing Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), Mercury (Hg), and Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) among others from entering Rwanda.

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