Rwanda launches campaign to curb vehicle carbon emissions

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Motorbike taxi drivers ride e-scooters in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, Feb. 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Martina Fuchs)
Motorbike taxi drivers ride e-scooters in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, Feb. 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Martina Fuchs)

Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) on Thursday launched a nationwide campaign aimed to reduce vehicle carbon emissions as part of the country’s broader efforts to promote a carbon-neutral economy, REMA said in a statement.

Rwandan car and motorbike drivers, as well as machinery owners, are called on to be part of the solution to air pollution by servicing their vehicles, avoiding unnecessary trips, turning off their engines when stationary and buying electric and hybrid vehicles, said the statement.

“Rwanda has built a nationwide monitoring system that provides real-time data on the quality of the air at 23 sites across the country. The system highlights the dominant air pollutants responsible for air quality degradation, and most of those pollutants are related to vehicular emissions and machines using fossil fuels like gas and diesel,” said Juliet Kabera, the director-general of REMA, in the statement.

She called on owners of fossil fuel vehicles to regularly service their vehicles, use fuel complying with national standards, and shift from fossil-fuel-powered vehicles to electric vehicles where possible to ensure clean air for all.

Kabera said the number of vehicles on Rwanda’s roads is expected to double by 2030 which will lead to increased air pollution.

The campaign, dubbed “Healthy Vehicle, Clearer Skies,” encourages owners to regularly service their vehicles and machinery and only purchase high-quality fuel.

During the campaign, mobile emissions testing will be conducted in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, and in the district towns of Huye, Rwamagana, Musanze and Rubavu, said the statement.

The public will also be engaged through radio and TV talk shows, and encouraged to share their personal efforts to hashtag #BeatAirPollution on social media.

“The contribution of vehicles to the city’s ambient air pollution cannot be ignored. All motor vehicles in Rwanda are required to undergo emissions inspection and testing at the Motor Vehicle Inspection Center,” said John Bosco Kabera, the spokesperson of the Rwanda National Police, in the statement, adding vehicles that do not meet applicable emissions standards are not authorized to operate in the country.

The campaign is a joint initiative of the Rwandan Ministry of Environment, REMA, Rwanda Standards Board, Rwanda Space Agency and Rwanda National Police.

Rwanda’s First Biennial Update Report under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2021, as well as the Third National Communication in 2018 both indicate that the country’s greenhouse gas emissions from road transport were dominated by cars and motorcycles.
According to a 2017 report by REMA, vehicle emissions are the biggest contributor to poor air quality in Rwanda’s cities.

In Rwanda, more than 2,200 deaths were attributed to ambient air pollution in 2012 and the number of hospital admissions for acute respiratory infections in health centers across the country increased to 3,331,300 in 2015, up from 1,682,321 in 2012, according to REMA. Enditem

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