KIGALI, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda's ministries of environment and lands and forestry Saturday led Rwandans in a nationwide campaign to rehabilitate wetlands.
It involved teaching communities about the role of wetlands in environmental management and protecting biodiversity.
The activities brought together national and local leaders, communities and environmental experts including engineers.
The national event took place in Nduba Sector, Gasabo district, on the outskirts of Kigali, which involved restoring barrow pits and calling on communities to practice good wetland management for sustainable conservation.
Officiating at the activities, Rwanda's Minister of Environment, Vincent Biruta, stressed the role of wetlands in environmental management and protection of biodiversity.
He called on owners of businesses operating in wetlands to relocate as soon as possible to support the restoration process.
According to the ministry of environment, Rwanda has 915 wetlands, which make up close to 10 percent of the country's surface area.
Lack of proper wetland management can affect the country's economic progress, climate resilience and the health of citizens, the ministry has warned.
The campaign follow a report of Rwanda's Auditor General published in May, which showed that one of the biggest threat to wetland conservation is irresponsible clay mining that leaves abandoned pits in important natural ecosystems.
Environmentalists say wetlands are a source of great natural wealth and support human life by providing and storing clean water, housing different species which protects biodiversity, and fighting the impacts of floods and droughts.
They are also important in preventing erosion and retaining sediments, hence requiring deliberate measures to ensure sustainable wetland conservation.