News on the Environment & Sustainable Development in Cameroon
A Review of Cameroon’s Pioneer purely Environmental Newspaper-The Green Vision
[one_third][/one_third]Minister Re-iterates Ban on Plastic Bags
The Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature for Sustainable Development, Hele Pierre has restated that the ban on plastic bags in Cameroon will be effective from April 2014. The Minister made the statement on January 16 in the country’s headquarter Yaounde while receiving New Year wishes from staff of central and external services of the Ministry. Hele Pierre reiterated that plastics are dangerous to the soil and the population and their negative effects can live on for generations, so it should be the concern of everyone to make sure it is eliminated to help protect the environment. The Minister called for the cooperation of all stakeholders and the public for effective implementation of the decision.
Meanwhile Cameroonians home and abroad have been reacting to the decision to ban the use of plastics in Cameroon. Some of the reactions the Green Vision Newspaper reported include;
[one_fourth][/one_fourth]Let the Minister review his thoughts and provide an alternative to plastic bags. It is important to protect the environment no doubt, but it is equally crucial to propose an alternative for those involved in the plastic sector.
Vincent Nkafu Leke
Barrister at Law, Free Town, SierraLeone
[one_fourth][/one_fourth]Personally I don’t think this a good idea. But nonetheless, if the government thinks they have a substitute for plastic bags, let the government make sure it is made available as soon as the ban commences. Without this, it will be a terrible situation in this country.
University of Buea
[one_fourth][/one_fourth]To me, it is a quite a laudable initiative. If you ask me, not only plastics but all non degradable items which are a threat to the environment due to their toxic nature should be banned. But my worry however is if there is a mechanism put in place to replace these plastics.
[one_fourth][/one_fourth]Cameroon should also device its development plan on a green economy platform and this is what the idea to ban plastic bags is all about. But is Cameroon ready for this? Our growing economy depends so much on plastic bags from petit trading such as mineral water to the sales of tomatoes. Alternative to plastic bags such as bio-degradable plastic bags should already have been in circulation today if the Government wants the April deadline to be respected. If this decision is not well planned, it might just be more trouble to many poor who depend on the use of plastic bags for their livelihood. So any solution in place should take into consideration aspects of convenience, price and quick accessibility to all levels of persons in the society.
Monde Kingsley Nfor
International Development Consulting/Humanitarian Reporter, Yaounde
[one_fourth][/one_fourth]This sounds like a brilliant idea but is it realistic and sustainable? Of-course we all live the reality of environmental degradation, but we are talking here of causing a market failure in plastic bag market, leaving thousands jobless and desperate. If the ban is going to be that strict, are there already alternatives for consumers? It is wise to learn from other nations who have gone through that road before. For example Rwanda, its capital Kigali is one of the cleanest in East Africa because of the ban on plastic bags. It worked there but small Kigali is not Yaounde or Douala. If you stop the plastic from entering the country via air, we will always find ways of bringing it in. Also Rwanda introduced paper bags, do we in Cameroon know what a paper is? From an environmental economics I will say the cost and benefits of implementing such law should be seriously evaluated. I fear the government will spend more resources (time inclusive) in trying to implementing this law without ever realizing their goal. I fear for more ethical, economic, social and even environmental crisis arising from such strict laws. I propose that we begin by introducing and alternative to plastic bags, then limit the use of plastic bags by giving restrictions on producers and increasing the price of plastic bags in the market.
By Mahah Vladimire
[one_fourth][/one_fourth]Plastic bags should be eradicated at all cost from the environment. The ills of plastics are so many. Their non-biodegradable nature on the environment causes diseases such as cancer and if we must build a cancer free environment, then plastics must be banned. It is a wise decision taken by the Minister. Cameroonians may not see the benefits now but they will certainly in future.
Barister Ndetan Victor
Liberty Law Firm
The decision is quite nice but I are not sure whether the local material required for use will not be available for public use. When the Minister first announced the ban, he said that substitutes like the ‘ngongo leaf’ and ‘plantain leaf’ can be used to tie food in place of plastics. But the question is can the supply meet the demand? Especially given that these leaves are not found everywhere in Cameroon. The demand for these papers will be too higher than the supply hence causing shortage. It is really proper that before plastics are banned these local materials should be made available. The deadline of April will not be easy for the population given that the decision is too abrupt.
Retired Senior Inspector of Police
The decision is a good one because if you go to most of our cities, all over, you will find those bags flying all and so I encourage the government to go ahead with the decision because plastic bags are a true menace to a healthy environment
Okie Emmanuel Osung
A Retired P&T Staff
200 Fish Farmers To Receive Integrated Aquaculture Training
Some 200 fish farmers in four villages of the South West Region including Yoke, Malende, Teke-Kumba will receive training in integrated aquaculture.
Integrated aquaculture is a system whereby fish is cultivated and integrated with some agricultural products such as rice, pigs and poultry to optimize yields.
The Coordinator of the West and Central African Council for Agriculture Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) project, in Cameroon, Dr. Oben, told The Green Vision in an interview that the farmers will be trained under two separate projects.
The first project will cover sustainable integrated pond-based aquaculture with rice and poultry production and economic, social and environmental assessment.
The second project will deal with poverty eradication and grassroots empowerment through sustainable integrated aquaculture development: fish and rice cum piggery production.
This project is for three countries that have won two projects together Nigeria, Cameroon and Sierra Leone and the projects are based in the University of Ibadan, Buea and Njalla University, Sierra Leone.
CDC Bananas Rejected Twice Soon After Delmonte Quit
CDC now has every reason to pay more attention to bananas. Barely a month after the corporation (Cameroon Development Corporation) took over technical production of bananas from its partner Delmonte, it lost some 10 tons of the fruit to rejection at the Douala Port.
The Green Vision learnt that inside a month CDC lost over 80 pallets of banana equivalent to some 10 tons.
“By the end of December, Fruitcam now purchasing CDC bananas, rejected over 50 pallets of fruits at the port in Douala because they arrived late. Hardly a week after, about 20 pallets from the Benoe farm were rejected at the port. This never used to happen when Delmonte was in charge,” Yuh Ignatius, a CDC staff representative en route to the corporation’s oldest banana farm, Mafanja I, said.
He said it seems when the bananas are taken to the port, the least complaint is found to reject them.
While some CDC workers see this as a ploy to frustrate the corporation’s efforts, others believe that just a month after taking over production, CDC is not giving appropriate care to bananas the way Delmonte would, hence leaving the fruits with complaints.
Delmonte International, a Costa Rica firm, parted ways with CDC on December 31, 2013 after 25 years of partnership.
Delmonte had signed a contract with the government of Cameroon to produce bananas. The terms; Delmonte will provide the capital, technical knowhow, infrastructure and market while CDC will provide the land and cheap labour. In return, CDC gets $1 per box of banana. The contract was supposed to last for 20 years, but after that period, Delmonte renewed the contract six times.
It is alleged that the decision to cut loose Delmonte came when CDC realised that Delmonte was making a lot of money behind its back in a huge market abroad, while CDC which provided land and labour received a trifling amount.
Cross-border Insecurity Threatens Cameroon’s Tourism
Tourism officials say over 900.000 tourists visited the country last year meaning Cameroon was a major tourist destination. But increasing cross-border insecurity caused by Boko Haram operating from inside Nigeria, as well as armed rebellions and civil wars emanating from neighbouring countries have been impeding factors in tourist destinations that harbour protected wildlife species. The first time Cameroon reached the significant milestone figure of 500.000 tourists per year was in 2010 and has almost doubled the figure in just over three years, demonstrating remarkable growth in the tourism sector.
Eight hundred thousand tourists visited the country in 2012 with an estimated 100.000 more tourists visiting the country last year, 2013; encouraging news for a country often described as Africa in miniature and has what it takes to improve on tourism, especially ecotourism.
Not only is Cameroon blessed with its geography and beauty, but it hosts a wide array of wildlife species and many of Africa’s iconic animals: chimpanzees, elephants, giraffes, gorillas and hippopotami. This makes eco-tourism attractive business.
Several factors account for the improvement in the tourism sector. Infrastructure and adequate logistics facilitate tourist appeal and movement around the country but the underlying ingredient responsible for the growth in tourism in the country is the stunning beauty of the landscape and the wild.
Compiled by Regina F. Leke