5 green initiatives in Africa to love
Today is World Environment Day. The aim of the Day is to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Green initiatives in Africa are particularly important. The state of the environment is linked to African sustainable development. Africa is home to approximately 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves, 8 percent of the world’s natural gas, 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves; the continent has 40 percent of the world’s gold and up to 90 percent of its chromium and platinum. The largest reserves of cobalt, diamonds, platinum and uranium in the world are in Africa. Africa holds 65 percent of the world’s arable land, 10 per cent of internal renewable fresh water source.
All peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development.
– Article 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
In most African countries, natural capital accounts for between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of total wealth. Over 70 per cent of people living in sub-Saharan Africa depend on forests and woodlands for their livelihoods.
SDGs linked to World Environment Day
Africa faces serious environmental challenges such as land degradation, deforestation, biodiversity loss and extreme vulnerability to climate change. It is in the best interest of Africa to heavily invest in protecting one of her best assets – the environment.
Here are 5 exciting green initiatives in Africa.
Moustapha Sene, and his company Sahel Gaz, converts nature into revenue while building communities. Sahel Gaz transforms free air from the atmosphere to produce oxygen for local hospitals. Sene owns another eco-friendly project: Kahone solar plant. The Kahone solar plant is located in the Koalack region and provides clean energy to over 150 000 households.
The Shitaye, Tigist and Friends restaurant is the first environmentally friendly restaurant in the country. It runs completely on biogas – made of human waste. Human waste is collected from the public bathrooms next to the restaurant. It goes to a biogas dome on site and breaks down over the course of a month in a process called anaerobic digestion. This produces gas and slurry. The gas is used to fuel the lights and cooking at the café while the slurry is taken to nearby farms and used as crop fertiliser. Any spare gas can be stored. The initiative is eco-friendly and employs marginalised women in the community. The Emmanuel Development Association , the local NGO that established the restaurant has started advising big businesses and hotels in Addis Ababa on the environment friendly practice.
Nelplast Ghana Limited recycles plastic waste and turns them into pavement blocks. In the factory, discarded plastic bags and other plastic detritus is shredded down to fine threads then mixed with ordinary sand, creating material for pavement blocks. The company also uses discarded plastic waste to create roof tiles. This innovative green initiative represents the next wave of sustainable construction.
Sylvere Mwizerwa uses banana waste to create affordable sanitary pads for his community in Rwanda. Mwizerwa, a business development officer at Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) in Rwanda, works with more than 600 banana growers, mostly women and girls from poor communities, to produce affordable sanitary pads using agro-waste. This revolutionary project is important in Africa, as many girls and women cannot afford sanitary products.
5. South Africa
P.E.A.C.E. – Thinana Recycling Cooperative is a green initiative comprising of five women collecting recyclable waste in the village of Senwabarwana (Limpopo). Recycling materials, especially PET bottles, is essential as most rural and semi urban areas in South Africa face challenges when it comes to implementing waste management and recycling strategies. Most plastic materials are usually burnt or dumped in landfills, which is harmful to the environment.
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