Rwanda: Human waste products killing Nyabarongo River, report says

By Bisola Adeyemo

About 47.8 per cent household and industrial waste is the leading cause of pollution in Nyabarongo River, Rwanda, a new study revealed.

Household waste mainly comprised of rubbish, garbage and sewage enter Nyabarongo River through the ravine Nyabugogo swamp that connects to it.

With a length of 351 km, Nyabarongo is Rwanda’s major and longest river.

At a rate of 10 per cent, industrial waste is ranked 3rd in polluting Nyabugogo swamp.

The industrial effluents and by-products are discharged in the water bodies by a number of industries in the Kigali City wetland system including a textile industry, the iron industry which manufactures iron sheets, paint factories and the Kabuye sugar factory among others, the report says.

News Time reports that the contamination also endangered the biodiversity of the river, killing birds, fish, and plants.

High levels of zinc, researchers say, were detected in the river-which can potentially cause a wide range of medical problems to the human body including birth defects, loss of smell and organ damage.

The quality of Nyabarongo River was also found to be deteriorating due to washing of minerals, mining activities in rivers that feed it, dumping mineral waste left-over soil and discharging wastewater into the river.

Researchers also said that the pollution may cause diseases such as cancer due to heavy metals that are found in the river. In addition, the microbes in the river cause water-borne diseases like diarrhoea and cholera.

However, they said that there is no assessment yet done in the clinics or hospitals showing the extent to which people are being affected or sick because of using contaminated polluted water of Nyabarongo River.

Damascene Gashumba, a researcher said: “Some species such as birds are no longer visible yet we used to observe them in nature around the rivers. Waste discharged into Nyabarongo and Akagera Rivers have led to the loss of biodiversity such as fish and frogs among many others.”

East AfricaRwanda
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