Recycling plastic waste: A joint endeavour for a healthy environment

An estimated amount of 600,000 tons of plastics in different forms is imported into Cameroon annually. Just about 200,000 tons reaches recycling stage after use.

Raising awareness to recycling plastic waste is very imperative as its careless disposal has caused a devastating effect on the environment and taking a toll on the population.

Apart from areas of the capital’s central town, Yaoundé, which are taken care of by hygiene and sanitation companies, many other sections of the city are usually heavily littered with plastic waste.

Just a handful of Cameroonians understand the need of recycling plastic waste.

In the Ndifon household in Essos, Yaoundé, they put in effort in recycling waste.

“We separate all our plastic waste from the organic waste, at the end of the week someone comes around and picks up the plastic waste and transports to a recycling centre.” Akoufei Ndifon said.

The story is rather different for Jerry Ntem on how he manages his waste in his home, in Bamenda, North West region of the country.

“We put all the dirt in a waste bag,” he says, “when it gets full we take it to a local pit where the community dumbs refuse.” Jerry added.

This attitude according to Hyacinth Booh, Director of Norms and Standards in the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development is as a result of lack of education.

He says the recycling of plastic waste process should start in homes.

Plastic waste are one of the main causes of flooding in Yaoundé and Douala central towns.

The waste thrown carelessly is carried away by rain water into drainage systems causing them to clog up and stopping the fluid flow of water which causes the cities to flood.

Plastic waste in Douala Cameroon
Plastic waste in Douala Cameroon
The recycling process in Cameroon

Very few companies are engaged in recycling plastic waste in Cameroon.

Two of such companies are former football star’s “Cœur d’Afrique” and “NAMe recycling.”

These companies have set up points in different towns where they permit the population to deposit their plastic waste.

At the end of each week the waste is collected to their different recycling centres.

Roger Miller’s Cœur d’Afrique transforms the plastic waste collected into other useful products like pavement blocks.

The Yaoundé City Council supports these local initiatives by getting into partnership with them by acquiring some of their transformed products.

Cameroon’s ministry of environment has embarked previously and continuously to sensitize the population on the importance of recycling plastic waste and waste in general.

They have organized sensitization campaigns through TV and radio shows where they educate the public on the importance of recycling.

Hyacinth Booh, Director of Norms and Standards in the Ministry of Environment
Hyacinth Booh, Director of Norms and Standards in the Ministry of Environment

Environmental hazards caused by poor management and the lack of recycling of plastic waste could be devastating on future generations.

Hyacinth Booh, Director of Norms and Standards in the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development calls for the use of the three Rs in favour of the climate; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Reduce the amount of waste you produce.
Reuse items as much as you can before replacing them.
Recycle items wherever possible.

The ministry of environment holds strongly that the call for responsible attitudes towards recycling is a call to foster sustainable development.

 

Bruno Ndonwie Funwie and Jeanne Ngo Nlend

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