Environmental Issues of Rwanda Research Paper

Rwanda is an African country, geographically located in the central-eastern part of the continent, in the great lakes region. The country predominantly relies on agriculture, hence more vulnerable to environmental issues and their consequences. Environmental degradation, as well as population pressures leading to social stress, were critical issues that indirectly sparked the violent conflicts which rocked the country in 1994, culminating in genocide (Homer-Dixon & Percival, 1995). The major environmental problems affecting the country and their remedies are discussed hereafter.

Agriculture is a very important economic sector in the economy of the country, which accounts for 47% of the countrys GDP. Extensive farming, as well as animal husbandry, is a common phenomenon in the country, hence leading to serious environmental degradation on the land. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides used on the farms detrimentally lead to soil pollution, which consequentially results in a decline in land productivity (Twagiramungu, 2006, pg26). Animal husbandry on the other hand has had detrimental effects on the land environment in Rwanda. This practice is extensively carried out on limited pastoral land. Rotative management of pastoral lands is harder to undertake due to land limitations and population pressure. This has resulted in overgrazing, trampling, and disappearance of vegetation cover, all leading to land degradation, a major environmental effect affecting Rwanda (Kabenga & Musabe, 2002).

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Environmental Issues of Rwanda Research Paper
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

Land degradation as a result of mining activities is a serious environmental problem affecting Rwanda. Quarries are abandoned and concerns for their rehabilitations are not taken. This practice is considered exploitative to the land as it leads to loss of vegetation cover, soil erosion, and water pollution.

A national dialogue workshop between the Government of Rwanda and the Global Environmental Facility, in February 2004, recommended that urgent interventions should be carried out to fight against agricultural activities which are harmful to the environment and could be leading contributors of land degradation, whose consequential effects are prolonged droughts. The convention advocated for environmentally friendly activities such as agricultural irrigation, harvesting of rainwater among others (National dialogue workshop, 2004, pg.4).

Twagiramungus (2006, pg25) suggestion was that mines and quarries should be rehabilitated after the exploitation of minerals. In its , the Ministry of Natural Resources of Rwanda cautioned against irresponsible mining activities and maintained that a plan will be in place to make sure that mining activities were carried out in a sustainable manner (Natural resources strategic plan, 2009).

This is an intensive phenomenon in Rwanda. Deforestation has been intensified by the reliance on firewood and charcoal as the main sources of energy for the entire Rwandese population. Dependence on timber as the main provider of energy is greatly threatening the survival of forests. Demographic pressure in the country is resulting in the clearance of forests to pave way for human settlements, agricultural, and other human activities. All these practices are the core factors behind extensive deforestation, which has consequentially led to a reduction in vegetation as well as forest cover. Due to deforestation, land degradation and soil erosion are inclined when the (Twagiramungu, 2006, pg22). This is an environmental problem and a challenge that the country has experienced.

To curb this problem, the government tree cultivation, and forestry project in the country. Forest plantations were established in the 1940s. However, various tree species such as eucalyptus were criticized for draining and acidifying places, leading to the extermination of undergrowth hence contributing to soil erosion. Agro-forestry practice has been initiated in agricultural areas. Agro-forestry species have been used to replace those species with the detrimental effect of draining and acidifying the land (Twagiramungu, 2006, pg.21-22).

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) in conjunction with the Government of Rwanda in an environmental workshop recommended on development of reforestation programs taking into account the appropriateness of the tree species to be planted. The workshop also proposed that both huge and small forest reserves should be protected (National dialogue workshop, 2004, pg.4). Poverty reduction strategy has been developed, which advocates for rational use of firewood while promoting alternative sources of energy (Twagiramungu, 2006, pg.8).

Threats to wetlands regions and water degradation
Deteriorating quality of water and extinction threat to wetlands in the country has been an environmental problem affecting Rwanda. Even though chemical pollution is not widespread due to the countys low industrialization level, microbiological pollution is quite abundant. The natural environment suffers from domestic wastes and other debris washed away by rains surface run-off into water bodies. Water hyacinth and agrochemicals and toxic products are the main pollutants and threats to watercourses as well as water quality.

Various environmental problems have emanated as a result of water resources degradation in the country. Frequent flooding has resulted in detrimental effects on health, land, infrastructure as well as aquatic ecosystems. Drainage basins have been eroded, watercourses sedimented and lakes have been silted up. Reductions in rainfall and prolonged droughts have led to which in turn have disturbed the hydrological cycle (Twagiramungu, 2006, pg17). These are some of the problems associated with the degradation of water resources which the government of Rwanda has offered several remedy measures as follows.

On realizing the importance of wetlands, the government approved the Ramsar convention on wetlands of 2003. Potential wetland sites such as the Mugesera-Rweru complex and Kamiranzuvu marshes had been identified, and implementation of the action plan for the Ramsar convention was initiated in June 2004 (Twagiramungu, 2006, pg 16-17). In its 2020 vision, the government of Rwanda has prioritized the management and protection of the environment. Protection and management of wetlands among other resources have also been encompassed on the National Policy on Environment (Twagiramungu, 2006, pg. 29-30).

Population versus natural resource imbalance
The imbalance between Rwandas population and the available natural resources has brought about several environmental problems in the country. Homer-Dixon referred to scarcity of natural renewable resources in the term environmental scarcity. The scarcities identified were of agricultural land, water, forests among others, which were environmental problems that played a role in the imbalance. The environmental scarcity arises as a result of population pressure on existing resources, degradation of resources, and inequality and imbalance in the distribution of the resources, which indirectly can result in human conflicts over the resources (Baechler, 1998, pg 5). Degradation of these resources is manifested through a reduction in biodiversity, intensive marginalization of arable land, and practices such as deforestation.

This imbalance has resulted in the inclination of poverty levels within the Rwandese households, as much of the population depends on natural resources such as land, water, and timber for their survival.

As a remedy to reduce this imbalance, the government has embarked on an environmental policy whose main objective is to improve human well-being, through thoughtful use of natural resources, management, and protection of the ecosystem for the promotion of sustainable development (Minirena, n.d). The governments 2020 vision outlines that by the year 2020, it intends to have a nation whose pressure on natural resources will have decreased substantially. This is through proper management and protection of the resources. The government has set a mission to reduce household involvement in primary agricultural exploitation from 90% to 50% (Twagiramungu, 2006, pg.29).

Natural Hazards
Natural calamities resulting from climatic changes are great environmental problems in Rwanda. Hazards such as droughts, flooding, torrential rains, and landslides constitute an unending challenge to the country. The country sometimes faces prolonged droughts and intensified flooding, which brings about detrimental effects on the environment and its population in general. Drought for instance brings in various human and livestock diseases, declination in agricultural production leading to food insecurity, people migration and loss of vegetation cover and some animal species. An example of drought effects was observed in 2000 in the Busegera region where hippopotamuses died and water resources decreased drastically.

Torrential rains and flooding are responsible for the destruction of food crops, extensive soil erosion, and landslides, destruction to develop infrastructures such as roads and bridges, and loss of human lives as well as animals. 108 people lost their lives during the flooding of December 2001 and May 2002 in the North and Western parts of the country. (Twagiramungu, 2006, pg27). These are environmental problems that greatly affect the country up to date.

Earthquakes, as well as volcanic eruptions, pose another environmental problem in the country.

The country is geographically located on the occidental rift valley region is prone to eruptions and earthquakes. Volcanic dust, toxic gases, and lava flow cause death to people, destruction of property and the environment. Bush fires and conflicts are other hazards that result in problems related to environmental degradation in the country.

The government of Rwanda through the National Policy on Environment and vision 2020 has embarked on sensitizing its population on the management and protection of natural resources which can help reduce some natural hazards such as flooding and droughts.


Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with Essay Help Republic
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Classic English Literature
Awesome Work. Highly recommend the writer
Customer 452461, November 21st, 2022
Nice job!
Customer 452459, September 27th, 2022
Classic English Literature
awesome research and organization
Customer 452451, May 26th, 2022
on time and very legit!
Customer 452447, May 18th, 2022
Classic English Literature
no errors and top-notch grammar
Customer 452451, May 26th, 2022
i love every detail of the paper. am sure i'll get an A+
Customer 452459, September 27th, 2022
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
Need assignment help? You can contact our live agent via WhatsApp using +1 718 717 2861

Feel free to ask questions, clarifications, or discounts available when placing an order.