Cameroon environmentalists tackle plastic pollution in Wouri River [+video]

FRANCE 24 | Cameroon produces six million tonnes of waste every year, including 600,000 tonnes of plastic waste. Piles of plastic have ended up in the Wouri River in Douala, one of the most polluted rivers in Africa after the Nile and the Niger, where environmental activists have been collecting it and taking it to be recycled.

Scientists estimate that four million tonnes of waste end up in the world’s oceans annually. The increase in plastic pollution can be linked to poor waste management. In an effort to solve the problem in Cameroon, the association Matanda Ecotour, or Friends of the Mangrove, has been collecting waste on the River Wouri.

So far, the group has collected 12,416 kilogrammes of plastic in five months and plan to collect over 700,000kg by the end of this year. The activists then take the waste to a factory for recycling.

“The quantity of fish is obviously reduced because the plastic waste suffocates the mangroves. If we don’t do anything now, the mangrove will disappear, the fish will disappear and if these two elements disappear, the river will,” said François Dikoume, president of Matanda Ecotour.

Cameroon produces 600,000 tonnes of plastic waste every year, the highest in Central Africa, but 20 percent of this waste is recycled.

Click on the video player above to watch the full report.

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8 comments

  1. are this plastics not money ?by setting a small waste to energy power plant incinerating and converting the heat to energy is enough.for those of us who know how it works to set an example. one ton of solid municipal waste produce 1000 kilo watts of electricity.

    • Bah acho @ Sweden makes 50 mill euros on collecting refuse from mainly Uk and burning for energy most of it ,it either heats or produces heat for 200.000 homes in surrounding area ,however the pollution aspect of doing that is really counter productive . Italy has the best record for serious recycling plastics and turning them into useful products at a much lower harmful emission rate so this burning for energy is not a good solution at all
      .If importers of any plastic goods get highly taxed by our customs there will be no problem ,plastic will be recycled every 40 years ( since waste plastic ,recycled will suddenly become a very valuable commodity inside the country cos you’ll be obliged to use it to keep costs down ! ):and create jobs for us instead .

      • PHYRNE,,,,, how can an African be worried about polution when we have no manufacturing industries to polute? it seems you do not understand that the climate change discourse is a well thought strategy to hold us in an elimentary agriculture economy where we specialise in being poor? we must first industrialisé and become rich before talking about any other thing. Only Britain alone polute more than a 31 million kilometers that is the whole of Africa combined.

        • Dear Bah, two wrongs don’t make it right. Pollution and climate change is not static (I guess you know this already). The damage western civilization has caused to the climate is currently making life miserable for our folks back home (example above). My poor father is still trying to understand why he has to walk around with no shirt on in the middle of May in the 2000s as compared to the 1940. Current technological advance has provided us with means to develop Africa to western standards, with limited environmental impact. Africa and the tropics as a whole currently hold the key to the planet and human survival. Everyone knows that. Lets use this advantage wisely and grow, rather turn it to a tool for destruction of our future.

  2. FON,,,,, you do not want to make an effort to use your brain to think in oder to forge your opinion. how can protect your core interest by accepting the Caucasian ideology of climate change? why is it that they only started talking about climate change after they have industrialised? while they are bringing down their forest to create new farms, Industrial zones and cities. they are telling us to do the opposite, and you find nothing wrong with that? this is not even being naive, it simply shows that you are a zombie prê fabricated by an Aryan university to advance THIER agenda. and what is it? Africa must not industrialisé, we must remain agrerian economies specialised in recreating poverty through generations,

    • Are you saying we too should bring down ALL our forest like the Aryans in order to become industrialized? If your answer is NO, then you get the meaning (“Brain”) of my last sentence above. If it is YES, then I rest my case and accept that we are all walking zombies.

      • FON, yes we should bring down all the forest, create large farms grow raw materials and industrialisé. We can’t remain weak and humiliated because of trees and animals. We are not a zoo, those who want to see animals and nature should go to Indian reserves in America.

  3. Water ,clean stuff is priduced by forests,they are the magic tap of independence for survival and the rich ability to put an individuals food on the table without having to have money .industrialized farms limit citerzens right to freely grown food and WATER .Forests have everything a human needs including medicines and insects that defend food growth and Cameroon is one of the few countries left with the rich ability to keep forests and jungles and with knowledge provide expensive healthy alternatives to mass produced fodder .Do we make sugar out of coconut flower nectar like they do in gulamerah in Bali and sell it in health food shops in Europe for 15 euro a kilo ?