• Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

The development of the watershed of the Mirwa region, one of the imperatives to protect Lake Tanganyika


May 24, 2024

BUJUMBURA, May 24th (ABP) – The development of the watershed of the Mirwa region overlooking the city of Bujumbura and the rivers flowing into Lake Tanganyika is one of the solutions proposed by Mr. Albert Mbonerane, former Minister of the Environment and founder of the Green Belt Action for the Environment (ACVE) organization to address the environmental challenges facing the country.

Challenges mainly linked to the rising waters of Lake Tanganyika and the heavy rains which flooded the entire plain, causing enormous damage which forced the administration to move part of the population from the flooded locality of Gatumba. Mr. Mbonerane focuses mainly on the protection of that Mirwa region, recognized, according to him, as “a threat to rivers and Lake Tanganyika which has harmful consequences on water quality and aquatic ecosystems”, and a region with high mountains and rugged terrain.

Mr. Mbonerane once again sounds the alarm on the situation of the Mirwa who are affects the entire plain and Lake Tanganyika. For him, a team of experts who visited the region came to the conclusion that the destruction of the forest cover of existing woodlands which forced water to infiltrate and limited the flow of surface rainwater following the overexploitation of the land and inadequate agricultural practices has led to enormous damage, including surface runoff of rainwater which washes away everything in its path, soil erosion, flooding of the lowlands of the plain, creating ravines and landslides in the city of Bujumbura.

Mr. Mbonerane indicates that the Ministry in charge of the Environment has initiated a mechanism to protect water resources and stabilize the rain dynamics of Mirwa, also one of the solutions for prevention.

For the protection of Lake Tanganyika and the Imbo plain, he proposes the tracing of contour lines in the Mirwa as is done in other regions of the country to eradicate soil erosion. He proposes the planting of trees to protect the banks of the tributary rivers of Lake Tanganyika for prevention.

According to him, as other solutions, we must review our behavior and apply the water code to the letter. The latter stipulates, in its article 5, paragraph 3, that “the ports or shores of Lake Tanganyika must be protected over a width of 150 m for Lake Tanganyika, 50 m for the other lakes of the country, a width of 25 m for other rivers and tributaries of Lake Tanganyika”.

Considering that the environmental future of Lake Tanganyika and Burundi, in general, is our responsibility, Mr. Mbonerane calls for awareness for the protection of future generations. Recognized for his fight for the protection of the environment, Mr. Albert Mbonerane spoke on May 21, 2024, during a series of conferences organized at the French Institute in Bujumbura on the theme “Environmental issues and international law”.