Tuesday, 10 February 2015


It is close to 10 months since the ban on the production of Bio Non Degradable Plastics of less than 60 microns in Cameroon, but it is far from being a reality in Bafoussam and many other towns of Cameroon. Cameroon Tribune, the state owned lone bilingual newspaper in Cameroon reported on January 15, 2015 that “Non-biodegradable plastic sacks are back in homes and markets in spite of the April 24 ban”. They further explained, traders in the sector were just creating a superficial scarcity to rocket up prices and make more profits.
Plastic bags banned by the April 24, 2014 decree on  Bio Non Degradable plastics in Cameroon

Shortage in the supply of biodegradable plastics to shops and markets places is seemingly the reason why traders are returning to their old habits. Some shop owners complain about the heavy cost of procuring the Bio degradable bags ranging from FCFA 50 to 1000 depending on the size. It is however not good for business because traders say their clients wouldn’t want to buy plastics for such an exorbitant amount which hitherto, was given to them free.

Law experts say what shop owners and industries who venture into this business fail to understand is that according to article 81 of the April 24, 2014 ban, they risk a FCFA 10 to 50 million fine as well as two to five years of imprisonment if caught dealing with such products.

But how effective is this law implemented? Here in Bafoussam, Kamkop, my neighbor Mr. Sylvain a shop owner told me “I still have a lot of bags at my disposal but because, I want to respect the law, I am selling it to a giveaway price to dealers”. Dealers like Ngenglefac Bonaventure in Yaounde who pays time without numbered FCFA 25 000 as fine to controllers from the Ministries of Environment and Trade in order get his products into the market. His products and other non-degradable plastics are highly in use today. Make a stop at the market or shop to buy anything anywhere in Cameroon and you are well served with a plastic as before the ban.

Although some few bakeries are fully established with the biodegradables, the number is very small as compared to the number of shops and markets in Cameroon. The Director of Standards and Control at the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature Enow Peter told Cameroon Tribune that a reasonable quantity of non-biodegradable paper might still be circulating and that they might be entering the country illegally; but cautioned the public to steer clear. He explained that the public should be aware that government wants plastic bags with focus on “thickness with a distinction of above 61 microns.”

Monday, 9 February 2015


In a joint report of the project called “Climate Change Scenarios for the Congo Basin” by GIZ, CSC and WUR of the Netherlands published on the 8th of January calls for more vigilance in this zone.

The Congo forests are extreme importance for storing carbon and mitigating of the effect global warming to balance the equation. Because of lack of quantifiable data in the Congo Basin, the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) sponsored the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to implement the project “Climate Change Scenarios for the Congo Basin” aimed at providing the Congo Basin countries and leaders good climate change predictions that can allow them adapt their resilience strategies for natural resources such as water, forest and agriculture.
Logging in Cameroon, dozens of these logs head to Douala from the East region of Cameroon every day.

The 1.530.000€ project started in 2010 ran for 3 years.  GIZ, the Climate Service Centre (CSC) in Hamburg, Germany and the Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) were the main players.They divided the tasks into research and facilitating transfer of results to the different parties concerned.

After collecting and analyzing Data from 77 different climate change projections from global and regional models, the experts think climate change is likely to have a negative impact on development in Africa. A situation that earlier in 2014, findings from a KU Leuven study in Africa had revealed that in 2050 Central Africa will have an average of 1.4 °C hotter than today as a result of global greenhouse gas emissions. They equally added, deforestation will add an extra 0.7 °C to that figure.

Because the predictions indicate an eminent increase in rainfall, the experts believe the Congo Basin nations should take note of floods in the central and western zones, but also advise them to take this opportunity to increase on their productivity in electricity and agriculture since precipitation abundance will favour both. However, they are invited equally to exploit other sources of energy like solar powered system.

 The projections also say there will generally be low emission scenarios, 46 of the analysis confirm this and Countries of this zone are challenged to maintain a stable growth in their emission because an increase concentration of CO2 might favor forest growth. At last, the experts forecast a favorable GDP for the nations but warn farmers to regularly practice mixed cropping to prevent easy soil wash off by the frequent run offs and the decision makers to promote agroforestry reforestation to prevent forest degradation, as well as laying more emphasis on capacity building.

In response to this recommendations, The Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) increased their budget for 2015/2016 by 98, 707, 679 FCFA on the occasion of the eighth session of the Council of Ministers of COMIFAC that took place in Bujumbura, Republic of Burundi on January 16, 2015. However, the Ministers of this body congratulated Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea for their punctuality with contributions and then discussed the situation of conservation and protected networks in Africa as well as bring to table the faith of conferences and other platforms of trainings and decision making.


Babessi, bush burns and forest cuts have rendered the place more exposed to climate change

In the 21st century, the scope of biodiversity degradation and loss has reached alarming levels, and the possibilities to achieve sustainable development goals appear terribly distant. Of all of man's activities, agriculture is one of the most demanding on land. Land is in short supply. The quality and landscape affects the configuration of farming that we get.

Consistent with the growing complexity of temperatures and rainfalls have made farmers and local people of Babessi, one time known for its special bushes, plants, animals and forest  to ghastly change their methods of farming and exploitations of natural resources to a very compromising system to their environment.  Babessi is a small village of close to 12 000 people, head quarter of the Babessi Sub division found in the Ngoketunjia Division- North West region of Cameroon.

Today when you visit the small village you discover that the great species of plants and animals that use to exist 10-15 years ago are no longer there or have lost almost all of its population. These have been lost to fire burns, agricultural expansion, construction, logging and an unexplained change in the climate. This unfriendly method of farming and exploiting the environment is what Wangari Maathai, Nobel peace Prize Winner had denoted in her book: “The Challenge for Africa” while talking about the dilemma of the woman of Yaounde’s farming practices.

“The little patches of forest that I knew when I was growing up is becoming very scanty” Said Nchofua Festus, Natural scientist and native of Babessi. He disclosed, “After the floods in 2012, Babessi is now faced with another water problem but this time around the lack of potable water”... Climate change is gravely felt by the people of Babessi. The local streams (Madoh and Manda) that use to serve as a source to Pipe borne water and fresh water sources  are drying up and very small water flow from these sources in the dry season. Because of this, many people are forced to go to the wells or use the same fresh water sources for washing and drinking which they sometimes share with pigs and cows
Tap at the Babessi Health Center, the lone place where someone can find potable water once in a blue moon in the dry season
“Manda” one of the fresh water sources helping more than 900 people in the village is now causing more problems to the people who visit it than before. It now serves as a dump for all kinds of things.  A little visit to the stream; you are welcomed by hips of plastics and greasy substances on the water channel. That is why at the lone Government Health center’s visits per day for the sick surpass 10.
“Madoh” stream fresh water sources in Babessi drying up, but people, pigs and cows drink from it.

The recent reports from the climate Change Center released on the 8th of January, 2015 say temperatures will continue to rise in this area, if forest and land degradation continues. Also, the report projects for future climate change scenarios, unevenly distributed rainfall but prolonged rainy seasons that might consequently lead to more flooding or soil wash.