NEWS AND FEATURES ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PUBLISHED IN THE GREEN VISION NEWSPAPER NO.2
[one_third][/one_third]Cameroon Fish Highly Contaminated with Mercury
The second edition of the environmental newspaper, The Green Vision reported that Cameroon has been singled out as a country whose fish stocks are continuously being contaminated with toxic mercuric waste discharged by industries in Douala in the Littoral Region. This was the result of a scientific study jointly conducted recently by experts from the Biodiversity Research Institute, the International POP Elimination Network and the Research and Education Center for Development. The paper revealed that a study conducted in two predominant high fish-eating communities in the outskirts of Douala between May and June 2012 indicates that Cameroon’s largest city and industrial hub, Douala is a mercury exposure hotspot. Medics say human consumption of its most poisonous form, methyl mercury typically through polluted fish results in the wrecking of the immune and nervous systems and serious damages to developing embryos. The paper recounted that the Wouri estuary where most of the fishing in Douala is done is highly polluted with mercury from various industries around.
Cameroon’s Water Predicament-A snapshot
The Second edition of The Green Vision Newspaper also reported about the excruciating water shortage that has plagued most parts of the country for years now. According to The Green Vision, water which is unquestionably crucial for the sustenance of life and the development of a society has become a scarce resource in Cameroon. The paper reports that Cameroon has enormous potentials of generating water for its population such as: The country is made up of 100 square km of rivers, 34.000 of plains, 1.800 square km of natural lakes, 2.800 square km of artificial reservoir waters and an estimated 1220 billion cubic metres buried in underground reservoirs. In addition to these, the country is blessed with two rainy seasons and is frequently touted to possess Africa’s largest hydro-electric potential after the DR Congo. Despite all these potentials, half of Cameroon’s 20 million people don’t have access to potable water, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report. The situation is very grim in populated areas where taps go dry for months and people have to depend on wells located close to latrines making the country a hub for water-borne diseases. The problem of water many says boils down to poor management.
Fishermen want Chinese Trawlers out of Cameron waters
The Green Vision also reported a silent battle which is raging in the Cameroon coastal waters between local Fishermen and Chinese in trawlers. The paper reported that Fishermen along the Tiko, Mabeta, Limbe, Batoke and Idenau coasts have blamed the vanishing fish population and dwindling incomes on the excessive fishing practice of the Chinese. The Green Vision reported that reports say the Chinese have been fishing illegally in Cameroon for over 20 years. In spite of the ban on their fishing by the Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry in 2008, Chinese are still hauling hundreds of tons of Cameroon’s fish which they trade off to foreign buyers on the high sea. Local fisherman say that the catch of fish has dropped drastically since the Chinese arrived. They explained that the Chinese are using their trawlers to catch everything in the sea from the smallest fish to the biggest, sometimes including the nets of local fishermen. For these reasons, the fishermen are urging the government to take action, lest the sea gets dry of aquatic life due to the Chinese indiscriminate fishing method.
Agroforestry boosting Farmers’ yields
The Green Vision Newspaper also took readers to the Western Cameroon where a project on agroforestry introduced by a US Charity Trees for the Future is boosting the yields and incomes of hundreds of farmers. The paper reported that in the face of increasing climate change adversities-dried up streams, increasing food crisis, deteriorating health, rapid disappearance of fuel wood, farmers have turned to agroforestry as a means of improving their soil quality, farm yields and consequently fight food insecurity. Over 100 farmers whom The Green Vision interviewed in different parts of Western Cameroon said they have witnessed a dramatic increase in the quality of their soils and their yields. These farmers added that thanks to this improvement, they have been able to amongst other feed better and also send their children to school from sales of increased crop yields.
Elephants in search of safe havens
The paper also reported on the threats the Elephants in Cameroon are facing. The paper recounted how easy it was to come across elephants when one ventured into the forest of Mt Cameroon and other Elephant Habitats in Cameroon some ten years back. The paper bemoaned the current threats facing elephants where skilled poachers kill elephants to sell their ivories in the Asian markets.
Compiled by Regina Fonjia Leke (Coordinator, The Green Vision Newspaper Project)