Any imported car, whether second-hand or new, that does not meet carbon emission standards will not be allowed in Rwanda, the government has warned.
The warning came as the country campaigns to conserve its greenhouse sector which, if not well controlled, might pose a danger to human health and destroy the Ozone layer.
Although there is no law in place banning cars that emit huge volumes of carbon dioxide, authorities noted that inspections to weed out culprits of air pollution will begin soon.
The situation is not alarming at the moment.
However, according to the Rwanda Environmental and Management Authority (Rema), government forecasts suggest that total emissions of greenhouse gases might double by the year 2020, hence the need to act fast.
The campaign does not target second-hand imported cars only but also new cars because they too if poorly maintained can emit beyond the acceptable limits.
“Naturally, older cars are more likely to emit more pollutants than new ones, but the focus is now on emission levels,” said Dr Rose Mukankomeje, the director-general of Rema.
Dr Mukankomeje further stated that efforts need to be accelerated in order to adopt sustainable practices that promote preservation of the atmosphere, with emphasis put on the control of emissions from vehicles, irrespective of their year of manufacture.
The government plans comprehensive discussions and agreements with other regional countries regarding the matter, she added.
“Once a decision is taken at the regional level, Rwanda will have to enforce it,” Dr Mukankomeje said.
Rema reports reveal that air pollution attributed to vehicular emissions such as sulphur dioxide, especially in Kigali city, have been found to be exceeding the permissible standards at some periods of the year.
Mohammed Karangwa, a vehicle dealer who sells second-hand cars imported from Tanzania, said that the implications of the directive may negatively affect his business.
Effects of climate change
“Clients order different types of cars vis-a-vis their financial status,” he said. “It’s not that we are against the adopted policies, but let the government know that, when it is campaigning for self-employment, the private sector, including our businesses, needs to be given a wide range of opportunities.”