Children in Buea, West Cameroon are living in a war zone – schools are frequently closed and gun fire (‘popcorn’) is common, but the children are finding time and motivation to take action against climate change and environemtal degradation.
Buea is 800 m above sea level, on the slopes of Mount Cameroon, an active volcano and biodiversity hotspot that rises from a coast that receives >11m of rainfall per year to an arid summit at 4090m. The highest mountain in west Africa is a place to protect and the children are making sure they do.
Lucy Diffang, who leads the PACE team in Cameroon was with the Environment Club in Baptist High School, BHS Buea recently.
“We were brainstorming on our understanding of environmental protection. We looked at practices that can destroy our environment and how we can contribute in sustainably managing the environment. One of the things mentioned was to avoid the use of plastic bags. Some of the students raised the question of alternatives to the use of these bags. They even noted that although the government had banned the use of plastic bags in Cameroon, little or nothing has changed due to the lack of alternatives for people to use. They were very excited and happy when I introduced the biodegradable pots from the PACE KIT. They have a tree nursery and are using these biodegradable pots as alternatives to the polyethene bags that most people use for nursing plants. The club has been nursing fruit trees and ornamental trees that they will plant around the campus. The papaya is already germinating. Club members are taking turns in monitoring progress in their nursery.”
Everyone wanted to touch and feel the texture of the biodegradable pots. They promised me they were going to come up with other ways to produce similar pots themselves.
The PACE KIT – pepiniere ecologique et durable contains examples of various biodegradable plant pots, methods to produce them locally, Action sheets to help set up a nursery and to carry out experiments to compare the pros and cons of plastic and different biodegradable materials.