The sustainable use of the forest is one of the key issues relating to environmental protection on the African continent. Forest reserves and greenery are also threatened by the excessive and chaotic use of wood and forest resources and unfortunately in Africa, the forest continues to dwindle. There are however measures against deforestation and sustainably managed forests are being given labels. Broad overview… Unmistakably, the World Forestry Congress affirms that the planet has lost 129 million hectares of forest cover in the past 25 years, in other words, the equivalent of the land area of South Africa, and the African continent is far from being spared. Organised every six years by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, this Congress was held for the first time on African soil in Durban, in September 2015. It was reiterated at the Congress that four African countries are among the ten countries where deforestation is the highest in the world: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau as well as the Congo Basin area [Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic (RCA), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)] In DRC, which has the largest forests in Africa, the absence of regulations has heightened
After addressing the issue of electronic waste (WEEE for Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment) in Africa and more specifically, in Ghana, this week we present to you the PARO-CI project, Sanitation and Waste Recycling Programme in Cote d’Ivoire, an organization in the environment and sustainable development sector. To deal with the problem of waste accumulation, Ivorian authorities are encouraging the creation of waste collection centres. «Ivorians must understand that the street is not a rubbish dump and it is important to educate them on how to manage waste, from sorting to recycling and composting, which are potential sources of revenue» Madam Anne Ouloto, Minister for Urban Hygiene and Sanitation stated after visiting two waste management centres at Bonoua in the south of the country. PARO-CI, a community based organization which aims at significantly reducing the environmental and sanitation burden particularly through its WEEE management platform, hopes to process electronic waste and thereby create value. Established in 2011, this organization has since 2014 supported municipalities in waste collection, separation of household waste and sensitization of people. As part of its activities, PARO-CI regularly organises hygiene days known as «operation sweep». Aimed at sensitizing people on environmental cleanliness, these operations
After tackling the issue of waste and recycling in Africa in a previous article, let us focus specifically on electronic waste or E-waste,also known as D3E in French for Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE). One of the countries which have made the most progress in the management of specific waste is Ghana. Tablets, flat screens, smart phones, high tech gadgets are equipments which quickly become obsolete and are thus thrown away, in fact, wasted. Over the period of a decade, volumes of electronic waste have landed in open dumpsites in the poorest countries on the planet, notably Africa. According to a study commissioned by the UN in 2013, global electronic waste will increase by a third between 2013 and 2017, exceeding 60 million tons of waste annually. Ghana, one of the most affected countries on the continent with respect to the entrance of electrical equipment and used computers, has suddenly found itself burdened under the weight of plastic and computer waste. From the late 1990s, the country has progressively received more European electronic waste on its territory, exported to prevent them from being discarded in Europe or United States. Often, these computers and electronic gadgets are even
In a number of African cities, seeing piles of household waste almost everywhere -along the roads, on street corners, on the sidewalks- has become something trivial. To think that the least empty space will unerringly attract waste! In a context of rapid urbanization, this waste generally ends up being burnt in the open air or stored in garbage damps in the open-air. In Cameroon, the start-up Kemit Ecology has developed an innovative process to convert household waste into ecological charcoal. An effective way to solve the problem of access to clean energy thanks to a real conversion of waste. In activity since 2014, Kemit Ecology has decided to takle a major problem. In Africa, 80% of the population use wood or charcoal for cooking. The pollution generated by the use of these power sources causes nearly 600,000 deaths each year. In addition, the production of firewood and charcoal contributes significantly to deforestation as well as to the destruction of mangroves, whose fragile ecosystems particularly serve to protect the coasts from erosion, protect the animals and purify the air. The start-up has hence developed an innovative technology to convert waste into ecological coal. Every day, a team of 5
Africa generates around 80 to 100 million tons of waste every year. Unfortunately recycling of waste is barely assured, despite the fact that the sector has the potential to become a prosperous one. The amount of garbage produced each year is increasing. For Africa, like what happened in Europe in the 19th century, sustainable and equitable development begins by improving the management of garbage. The issue of waste management arises even more heavily for African countries: with urban growth, many African cities suffer from dim public infrastructures, particularly unsuitable for garbage collection. For example in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, Congo, the first problem is the lack of appropriate spaces where to dispose the waste, hence big quantity of garbage litters the streets daily. The collective garbage bins are rare, poorly marked, often distant, insufficient and necessarily quickly saturated. It is quite a common situation in many other places, from Nairobi and Dakar to Cairo. In some countries, a new trend has emerged: Exporting the waste to other countries where there are companies more specialized in waste management. According to the World Bank, more than 50% of waste in Africa is organic, and would therefore be better managed if
African economies are turning to renewable energies for their economical growth to match with environment protection, a strategy which will help many countries meet some of challenges of the incoming decade. For instance in Kenya, one of East African countries in which the economy is based on natural resources, many such examples are booming. This is the case of Kasigau Tree Farm in the South of the country with their ecological charcoal. Kenya is endowed with a wonderful and diversified nature, often clearly better exploited than in other African countries. The country even hosts the world headquarters for the UN Environment Program; UNEP, mainly for that reason. However, it doesn’t mean that its environment is perfectly preserved, and for instance deforestation threatens a major part of its green areas. According to the United Nations, Kenya looses about 50 000 hectares of forest per year, which is 5.6 million trees each day… With a forest coverage below 2%, it is one of the least forested sub-Saharan African countries, partly, due to the fact that firewood is the major energy source for the population: 88% of the rural population is still depending on firewood, and 82% of the urban population depends
Solar energy shows itself to be the unexplored field that could connect Africa to the grid. Numerous start-ups have flourished thanks to this idea. This is the case for Sunna Design, a French company founded in 2011 by Thomas Samuel, the inventor of solar street lamps adapted to tropical climates. Thomas Samuel received a prestigious prize for this program in 2014, awarded by a review from MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the largest universities in America. The solution proposed by Sunna Design is to create mini electrical networks that can provide electricity to up to four households through the use of one solar street lamp. Their innovation depends on LED (light-emitting diode) lamps, but ones that operate on solar energy. Each of their lamps is capable of powering four houses and resisting extreme heat. These lamps can also be installed in a few short minutes and have a service life of ten years without maintenance. These lamps promise to be independent and environmentally friendly. The households connected to them then benefit from access to energy. A solution that could cost considerably less than kerosene – not bad for a technology made profitable in 3 years.
While COP21 is still under way in Paris, Africa has a central place in the debates as well as in the solutions for the future. Facing a severe lack of energy infrastructure, many countries seek to move directly from an electricity deficit economy to a landscape full of renewable energy. This is the case with Benin, where only 25% of the population has access to electricity, and where the government has proposed to set up a program called « Light for All » whose purpose is to provide a solar energy system to all Beninese households within the next six months. Ambitious? Definitely, but not unrealistic. « Bringing Benin out of darkness is providing education, security, health and increasing the purchasing power of the people », promise made this day by the Beninese Prime Minister, Lionel Zinsou, appointed to the post last June. The businessman who has lived in France for a long time was also recently designated as the ruling party’s candidate for the February 2016 presidential election. Lionel Zinsou presented the project in Paris early December, alongside his foundation, Africa France. Judging from the reactions received, he has at least convinced the Beninese Diaspora of France. « We do not have oil.
While the world is riveted on Paris for the United Nations Conference on climate change, the COP 21 initiatives multiply throughout the world to try to act at the local level. This is most noticeable on the African continent, where Governments have little to offer. An example of positive and effective initiative this week: the case of Energy For People, who tries to promote access to renewable energy in Togo. Social project launched by a young Togolese company, Energy For People is designed to provide solutions for access to renewable energy, especially in rural areas. Photovoltaic lamps, solar water pumps, biogas, substitutes for wood heaters or charcoal for cooking, the project is helping to publicize and disseminate new cleaner energy technologies in Togo. Most of the villages where Energy For People operates lack access to basic energy and even more to the so-called green energies. The social start-up hopes to provide them with solutions but also contribute to create community and rural groups in order to spread information and training to communities, schools and directly into homes. The goal is to help rural people to learn to produce their own energy; for example to produce charcoal, not with wood