Archive Cameroon Fights Tlooding by Turning Plastic Waste Into Jobs

Cameroon Fights Tlooding by Turning Plastic Waste Into Jobs


- Advertisment -

Retired Cameroonian footballer Roger Milla is already famous for being the oldest goal scorer – at age 42 – in World Cup history. And now the footballer is proving an unlikely hero in Cameroon’s struggle against climate change-related flooding.

A project by his organisation Coeur d’Afrique (Heart of Africa), which aids abandoned children, is helping lessen the damage to the country’s flood-prone political capital while also fighting youth unemployment – all by just picking up some plastic.

Over the past two years, Yaounde’s population of over 3 million has suffered some of the worst flooding on record. But nature isn’t solely to blame, say experts. Part of the problem is the plastic waste clogging up rivers and blocking gutters.

“Heavy and prolonged rains cause floods, but reckless human activities are as much to blame for aggravating the flooding,” said David Payang, sub-director for conservation at the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development.

Last year, Coeur d’Afrique started paying young people to collect plastic litter, to cut down on pollution and unblock the gutters. The second part of the project sees the plastic recycled into slabs that can be used for construction.

With a single initiative, the organisation aims to help solve four of Cameroon’s major problems – youth unemployment, plastic waste pollution, flooding, and non-sustainable building – at once.


Cameroon’s government has been trying to tackle the country’s plastic waste troubles for years, with little success.

Cheaper than other alternatives, plastic bags and bottles are popular in a place where the average income is less than 500 Central African francs (cfa) ($1) a day, and laws aimed at curbing the use and sale of disposable plastics have been ineffective.

“We cannot do without these plastics because they are affordable and government has not provided any alternative,” Albert Eko, a teacher in Yaounde, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

But the plastic items often wind up tossed into the streets of the capital city, making their way to gutters and waterways. The River Mfoundi canal, which was constructed about four years ago as a major route to drain away floodwater, is now regularly blocked by plastic waste, say city authorities.

In a collaboration between local councils and garbage-collection company Hysacam, Coeur d’Afrique employs over 300 youths in various flood-prone Yaounde neighbourhoods to regularly collect plastic from garbage cans, gutters and streams. They work three days a week for 2,500 cfa ($5) a day.

“I am happy with the job, it provides me with some income to support my daily living,” said Julius Ngwe, 25, who is part of the plastic-collecting crew in Etouge-ebe Yaounde.

The waste is picked up by Hysacam and sorted, then another group of young people – different from those collecting the plastic – melt it down in a large tank over a wood fire. They later add sand to the molten plastic and pour the hot mixture into moulds.

The process doesn’t need water and the slabs set and dry at room temperature within 15 minutes, as opposed to the 24 hours it takes conventional sand-and-cement-based products, according to the head of the project’s technical team, Pierre Kamssouloum.

The plastic slabs are cheaper than conventional concrete slabs, costing 3,500 cfa ($5.40) per square meter compared to 5,000 cfa ($8.50).

And, approved as sustainable by the country’s National Civil Engineering Laboratory, they are “environmentally friendly and waterproof,” said Samuel Nguiffo, executive director of the NGO the Centre for Environment and Development, meaning they can also be used in marshy areas and in the building of septic tanks.

The recycled slabs have already been used by the Yaounde city council for various projects and by the National Olympic sports committee in the construction of the national handball field, officials say.

And so far over 750 youths have been trained in the process of making the plastic slabs. The project aims to train a total of 2,500 people by 2017, Kamssouloum said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

REA Nigeria Launches Research and Innovation Hub to Accelerate Energy Transition

In a bid to accelerate the adoption of technologies in the renewable energy space, the current Managing Director/Chief Executive...

Endsars: Lagos Panel Kicks Against ‘Misleading’ Report Of Proceedings

Lagos State judicial panel on restitution for victims of SARS related abuses and other matters sitting today Friday 11th...

COVID-19: UNICEF receives $39m from Japan for Nigeria’s vaccine cold chains, others

By Ijeoma Ukazu |  The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF has received approximately US$39 million in emergency funds from the...

Hon Adewale Temitope Distributes 500 UTME Forms To Ifako Ijaiye Students

Hon. Adewale Temitope Adedeji, representing Ifako-Ijaiye Constituency 01 at the Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA), on Monday, through...

COVID-19: Mastercard Foundation donates $1.3bn to support Africa’s vaccine rollout

The foundation said it will deploy the funds in partnership with the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention...

ROAD EXPANSION PROJECT: Baba Suwe, Others Get N500m Compensation From Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday presented N500 million compensation to popular Nollywood actor, Babatunde Omidina, known as...

Must read

Endsars: Lagos Panel Kicks Against ‘Misleading’ Report Of Proceedings

Lagos State judicial panel on restitution for victims of...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

%d bloggers like this: