Last Monday, a consultation was held at the Ministry of the Environment’s headquarters in Yaoundé, to discuss the establishment of a national waste exchange in Cameroon.
According to Environment Minister Hélé Pierre, the waste exchange is the best solution to effectively manage waste since it is the place “where one’s waste becomes another person’s raw material.”
The government official explains that the exchange will either be a virtual or physical platform to enable waste or used materials’ transactions between companies.
The aim is to develop a circular economy, which involves the production of goods and services in a sustainable way by limiting resource wastage and the production of waste. The idea for the waste exchange was first floated seven years ago. It is one of the resolutions taken at the end of the first National Waste Conference, organized in April 2016 in Yaoundé. The participants recommended the creation of a platform to aggregate the supply and demand for waste that could be marketed after recycling.
But little has changed since then. According to the Ministry of Environment’s data, Cameroon produces six million tons of solid waste yearly, including 600,000 tons of plastic waste, most of which ends up in the environment. Despite the growing number of recycling companies - a niche of opportunity which, according to the authorities, creates jobs - only 20% of this waste is processed. The government is counting on this exchange to raise the percentage of solid waste collected.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem