By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU
Experts affirm that there are many things and we can (and should) do to preserve and protect our environment if we want to preserve and protect life on Earth. Reducing consumption of resources, reusing products and materials, and recycling what can no longer be reused are all critical to being more sustainable.
In 2018, Rwanda started a move to end the use of plastic bottles in government institutions switching to use of sustainable and reusable alternatives such as glasses and refillable water dispensers.
The drive was initiated by Dr. Vincent Biruta, the current Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, who said that this is walking the talk to Beat Plastic Pollution.
In the beginning Minister Biruta started the strategic implementation with his former Ministry of Environment and institutions under it, with the directive measures to no longer use mineral water in plastic bottles, but reusable cups and/or water dispensers.
Since then, it is hard to collide with plastic bottles in a national institution whose activities target the environmental and nature conservation. Even the International meeting organized by the said institutions are no longer serving water in plastic bottles as it was before this idea to develop.
Minister Biruta who was recently appointed by President Paul Kagame to the Ministry of International cooperation didn’t relocate alone. Today the same drive has now reached the Ministry of which Biruta is heading.
The Israel’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Ron Adam can testify how Biruta’s strategy is much more Environmentally friendly.
Recently when Ambassador Adam was at the Ministry’s Office, he was inspired and he immediately Tweeted “Congratulations Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Birura on getting rid of the plastic bottles in Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and moving to much more environmentally friendly method of drinking water! Thank you …”
Ambassador Ron Adam is not the only to see the drive as an inspirational story. Apart from the Germany Embassy in Kigali which also supports Biruta’s leading strategy for Environment conservation, Bodo Immink, Country Director GIZ Rwanda also informed that his institution can not work with a hotel that serves water in plastics.
“This is the way to go – no plastic bottles anymore! Great initiative and thanks to Ambassador Ron Adam for bringing this up. We at GIZ Rwanda only conduct trainings and workshops at hotels and training institutions, which are not serving water in plastic bottles,” Immink shared.
Normally drinking water bottles from local companies are distributed in plenty during ministerial meetings, conferences and summits held within hotels and institutional meeting halls.
According to Biruta, simple human behavioral change can have a big impact on the environment.228