The Minister’s worry is being fired by the need to arrest environmental degradation due to poor handling of waste.
By Anu Paul
The irresponsible management of waste in the country and the need to tackle the problem for environmental safety and the health of the population has gotten on the nerves of Hele Pierre, Minister of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED).
The Minister has warned that if adequate waste management system is not put in place to process the different wastes produced in the country then an imminent doom awaits the nation.
Hele Pierre was speaking on June 3, 2014 at the environmental documentary centre in Yaounde as part of events marking the 42nd edition of the World Environment Day.
He called on the participants to reflect deeply on the most appropriate ways and sustainable procedure of waste management; collecting, transporting, disposing and recycling.
The Environment Minister also used the occasion to explain and trace the genesis of waste management strategies put in Cameroon and the results obtained so far, stressing that government has been in permanent search for a lasting solution to waste disposal in urban areas.
“It all started with the creation of HYSACAM but today we have others like BOCAM, GMC, PROMETAL and METAL-Afrique, to name just these,” said Hele.
He called on others to join the waste management sector, saying it looks promising for job creation and poverty alleviation.
“Each year, while we celebrate World Environment Day, we are called as global citizens to carry out different activities that can promote environmental sustainability. As an environment ambassador, you can spread awareness on a small level by talking to children in your family, or at your office or in your locality,” said the Minister.
Also in commemoration of the World Environment Day under the theme ‘Raise Your Voices not, Sea Levels,” MINEPDED staff gathered in Kribi, South Region, to examine strategies to prevent the continuous rise of the sea level.
They encouraged inhabitants living close to the sea to plant trees along the coast.
In a national workshop organized on the D-Day – June 5 public – private and the civil society actors brainstormed on the strategies to enhance and implement waste management measures.
Different speakers at the event urged participants to build small farms or gardens, where fruits and vegetables can be grown as well as learn about various seeds, plants and manure.
“Create a part of your garden where you [can] grow edible plants and another where you can grow flowers. This will help you interact with nature and will also give you an opportunity to do something new,” participants were told. They were advised to do more walks than using cars, which emit a lot of carbon dioxide that contributes in increasing the already devastating effects of global warming. Besides, they were educated on the concept of ‘Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Renew, Recycle Waste.’
“If you are not already into this habit, it is a good day of the year to start. These are magic mantras when it comes to environmental conservation and sustainable usage,” was the advice given to the participants.
To crown the Day, the MINEPDED boss at the Yaounde Conference Centre, handed over prizes to students and groups who performed best in the various competitions and quizzes that were launched by the Ministry and other environmental organizations.
The ceremony was also graced by dramas and poets all aimed at educating the public on environmental conservation.