Achieving a plastic-free ocean for Limbe, Cameroon

Date

8 June

Time

9:30 am

Location

Limbe Coastline

ORGANIZATION ACHIEVEMENT ON COASTAL CLEANUP

At ASCOA, we are committed to protecting our oceans. Our environmental protection projects have raised awareness about plastic pollution in Cameroon’s South West region. ASCOA’s coastal cleanup projects have helped keep local beaches litter-free. From 2018 till date, the organization have involved 620 people (volunteers) in coastal cleanup, collected 35,020 plastic bottles, and removed a total of 188,583 items from the coastline in Cameroon, and created partnerships with 9 environmental organizations. In 2019, ASCOA was nominated as the only English organization from Cameroon to attend the 2020 United Nations Ocean conference. In 2020, ASCOA was granted special consultative status by the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council, and developed an extensive network of working partners such as Global Waste Cleaning Network (GWCN), UK.

Background

Cameroon’s coastal region trash is contributing to the global seas and oceans garbage that is exceeding thousands of tons per year out of which 60% is plastic. Recent surveys and assessments proved that the coastal regions, particularly Limbe and Idenau beaches in Cameroon are affected by marine ecological disturbances such as marine pollutions, mechanical habitat destruction and garbage disposal. This has posed ecological, health and economic challenges. The root cause of the problem is poor waste management from households, businesses and local tourists. Each time there is heavy downpour, runoff sweeps the garbage and finally deposits in the oceans. Due to contamination the water quality of Limbe beaches are not in line with the WHO’s guidelines for drinking, swimming, and other recreational activities (Mbeng, Lawrence, et al., 2015). This project is targeting to address plastic pollution and marine littering problems in Cameroon through volunteer services, entrepreneurial packages and behavioral changes.

PROJECT SUMMARY

The overall goal of the project is to enhance environmental management of the coastal areas of Cameroon by minimizing the plastic and waste litter in these areas. Indiscriminate dumping of plastics and other waste is rampant in the South West coastal region and of particular interest, the principal coastline of Ngeme-Batoke. The area is home to sensitive ecosystems, critically endangered species, endangered bird species, and other species listed as Vulnerable by IUCN. This area is also greatly dependent on tourism to sustain its local economy and it is therefore vital to ensure that efforts are taken to preserve its natural ecosystem from the menace of plastic pollution. Our aim is to change the behaviors of local communities that contribute significantly to this problem by embarking on an Awareness Educational Campaign about maintaining a clean coastline through a Beach Cleanup. This project will engage 300 volunteers.

ASCOA has been bringing together passionate ocean lovers and helping them contribute to a vision for trash free seas in Cameroon. ASCOA aims to prevent trash from entering the waters by working with everyone from individuals to businesses to change the products, practices and behaviors that lead to ocean trash. It is intended to carry out regular and effective activities to maintain Cameroon’s beaches clean and trash-free by carrying out a varied approach, to solve the problem in the long run. Waste bins will be installed and awareness campaigns will be conducted to reduce littering in the long run. ASCOA intends to organize beach cleanup during world Ocean day 8 June 2021.

Objectives

Cameroon’s coastal region trash is contributing to the global seas and oceans garbage that is exceeding thousands of tons per year out of which 60% is plastic. Recent surveys and assessments proved that the coastal regions, particularly Limbe and Idenau beaches in Cameroon are affected by marine ecological disturbances such as marine pollutions, mechanical habitat destruction and garbage disposal. This has posed ecological, health and economic challenges.

The root cause of the problem is poor waste management from households, businesses and local tourists. Each time there is heavy downpour, runoff sweeps the garbage and finally deposits in the oceans. Due to contamination the water quality of Limbe beaches are not in line with the WHO’s guidelines for drinking, swimming, and other recreational activities (Mbeng, Lawrence, et al., 2015). This project is targeting to address plastic pollution and marine littering problems in Cameroon through volunteer services, entrepreneurial packages and behavioral changes.4

Objectives

  • The overall goal of the project is to enhance environmental management of the coastal

areas of Cameroon and to save life below water.

  • Specific objectives include:
  • To improve the environmental management of coastal areas through volunteers

engagement;

  • To strengthen alternative livelihoods from recycling of coastal garbage’s;
  • To increase knowledge, attitudes, behaviours towards clean coastal and marine areas in Cameroon by 50% within 3 years
  • To engage in research and knowledge management/sharing practices of the coastal Environment

The proposed activities include:

  • Beach clean-ups,
  • Sorting and documenting of waste collected,
  • development of online material to increase community sensitization for a clean

environment, social media campaigns- using flyers, radio, posters, etc,

  • Engagement of waste-recycling companies to collaborate in waste recycling initiatives.
  • Webinar will also be organized by inviting key stakeholders, environmental partners, Volunteers and community members to enhance sharing innovative ideas around marine pollution and coastal refusals protection.

 Beach cleanup activity encourages individuals to participate again or to perform other sustainable actions in their daily lives. If successful, the beach clean ups with the distribution of online material will have a prolonged outcome by shifting the responsibility to the origins of where the plastic is produced and consumed.

Outcomes of this project include:

  • Increased community awareness on environmental conservation;
  • Reduced marine litter;
  • Improved policies, attitudes and behaviors towards waste management and protection of marine pollution
  • Increased income from growth of tourist activities and earnings/savings from waste recycling;
  • Reduced prevalence of diseases.

OUTPUT

Clean Beaches – the output of the beach clean-up. Records of data on the waste collected and the area covered will be maintained and shared with relevant organizations.

BENEFICIARY

1) The maritime world – these include improved quality of water, Microbiological quality of fish, and prolonged life of Maritime animals, which are at risk of facing extinction.

2) The recreation industry – includes tourism activities, hotels businesses, fishing, etc

The activities proposed here will contribute to conservation efforts in both the short and longer term. These Benefits will be realised in the following ways.

  1. Beach clean-ups will always remove trash in the area conducted and any amount of trash removed will contribute to protecting the marine species. Scientists estimate that up to 700 species have been affected by marine pollution, with many species of birds and fish documented to have ingested plastic.
  2. Beach clean-ups will be followed by an analysis of the trash collected and by disseminating the findings. The knowledge will contribute to longer term research, both locally and globally, on what types of materials and items are most discarded. This allows organizations to develop targeted solutions, such as promoting eco-friendly alternatives to the most common items discarded. More effective policies and messages can also be designed in the appropriate areas.

For example, messages can be displayed to remind visitors to stop litter and include photos of the most common items found. Analysis of trash collected may also identify if there is any illegal dumping by businesses or manufacturers in the area.

  1. Cleaner seas and reefs will also facilitate diving to monitor the health of coral reefs in the area.Regular assessment and research of coral colour and growth will help to assess impact from other factors such as climate change and change in sea temperatures. Younger generations can also experience visual impacts of pollution and climate change on coral reefs, if the ocean was

cleaner and suitable for swimming.

  1. Beaches that remain clean will encourage more visitors to the beach and sea for dining, sport, swimming or water activities. Regular clean-ups, installation of trash cans and general awareness will lead to stronger desire by the communities to keep the area clean and welcoming. Involving more volunteers, using the social media platform and encouraging more dialogue with stakeholders will keep media and social interest on the issue and contribute to a more environment-conscious community.

PROJECT LOCATION

Limbe 2, Rural

The Ngeme-Idenau coastal area in Cameroon: It covers 7 km of coastline, which includes black sand beaches and mangrove forests. These serve as nesting grounds for endangered bird species like the critically endangered sociable lapwing, as well as four species of marine turtles, the African manatee, and other species listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Currently, the ecosystem in this area, as well as the surrounding forested areas are threatened by large quantities of plastic which travel downstream from major urban centers such as Limbe and Douala. This in turn, represents a major public health issue, through contamination of drinking water, foodborne diseases, and pollutant related conditions. Indiscriminate dumping of wastes on coastal areas and in the sea in Limbe also devalues the area, which depends greatly on tourism to sustain its economy.It is therefore vital to ensure that efforts are taken to preserve the natural ecosystem from the threat of industrialization and plastic

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