A five-man delegation from Tanzania visited Rwanda National Police (RNP) on June 22 as part of their study tour to understand how Rwanda has managed to deal with environmental-related crimes especially the policy on the ban of plastic bags.
Eng. Ngosi Mwihara, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the office of the Vice President of Tanzania, who is heading the delegation, said their visit to RNP headquarters in Kacyiru aimed at learning how the force’s Environmental Protection Unit works in implementing the government policy on environmental protection.
Eng. Mwihara said that they intend to learn from Rwanda’s experience towards a complete ban of non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags.
“We want to learn from Rwanda particularly, the achievements made in terms of managing this contagious and challenging waste issue that is bringing a lot of problems in terms of environmental degradation,” said Eng. Mwihara.
In 2008 Rwanda adopted a policy banning the importation and use of non-biodegradable polythene papers.
According Eng. Mwihara, Tanzania is also in the process of adopting the same policy and needed to pick lessons from Rwanda.
“Since we are planning to ban use of non-biodegradable plastic bags in Tanzania, we chose Rwanda as a case study because it’s doing much better than any other country in the region, so that we prepare well. So far, we have learnt that teamwork and awareness and ownership by various stakeholders have been at the forefront of Rwanda’s success towards complete ban of plastic bags,” said Eng. Mwihara.
“We also learnt that when you ban plastic shopping bag you must have alternative replacements which Rwanda did with paper bags. We also learnt of impact of environmental policing in situations like this,” he added.
While visiting RNP, the Commissioner for Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Theos Badege gave them an insight into Rwanda’s environmental policing.
In the same line, ACP Badege told the officials that RNP established the environment protection unit last years with a specific mandate of ensuring environmental protection for sustainable development.
“Establishing the unit was in line with the need to curb emerging environmental crimes. The roles of the unit are not only limited to law enforcement but also participation in the preserving of environment through environmental education, practical interpretation of environmental laws to citizens and engaging in public environmental management awareness processes,” said ACP Badege.