Climate change: Time for action

Various associations involved in protection of the environment, such as the Ministry of environment, Scouts and others,took a guided ecological tourto the GasenyiRiverthat overflowed in February this year. The tour was meant to explain aboutthe stateof the river anddiscuss ways to prevent other accidents.-By Yves Didier Irakoze

 Various environmental organizations looking over the Gasenyi River ©Iwacu

Various environmental organizations looking over the Gasenyi River ©Iwacu

The visit to Gasenyi River is part of a bigger international campaign on climate change, with the theme “Enough talk, time for action”.
“It’s time to put the agreements and projects into practice, so we ensure the best possible future for our youth as well as protect our environment and fight against climate change. It’s not the time to accuse or blame each other, but it is time to act and see what could be done to effectively protect our environment”,says Landry Ninteretse, Francophone Africa Regional Coordinator for Club 350, who organized the event.

Onésime Aimé Ndayisenga, the Chairman of Youth Volunteers for Environment, says that the youth are the Burundi of tomorrow, who can change the world by protectingthe environment. Everyone has to contribute and assist with the projects of the government to protect the environment, he says.
According to Déo Babonwanayo, Advisor of the Minister of Environment, we need to sensitize people about the attitude we adopt to deal with climate change. Because, he says, climate change is here and it is not a new phenomenon.Burundi therefore signed the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change and set up a National Policy for Climate Change to prevent natural disasters such as the flooding in February 2014.

Déo Babonwanayo goes on saying that the flood that destroyed infrastructure and tookhuman life at Gatunguru was caused by climate change, with some help from people who dug mountains insearch for rubble, stones, gravel and sand to build their houses. Without vegetation, the hills become susceptible to erosion and when the rain falls it takes all it finds and can cause disaster.

However, deplores Babonwanayo, even though the Government has made efforts to limit damages, many challenges remain. Especially because of the high speed of population growth that affects the environment; people need land for subsistence and might destroy the environment to get it. “People have to plant many trees and cover all the hillsthat are empty. We also call upon everyone to stop and denounce those who wrongly dig for raw materials for construction,without respecting the lawsmeant to protect our environment and stop or limit natural disasters”, Babonwanayo points out.
Landry Ninteretse adds that everyone has a role to play to protect the environment. He emphasizes the importance to protect the borders of rivers that flow into Lake Tanganyika in order to protect the Lake’s ecological system.