Bamenda(Cameroon) suffocating under the weight of waste Population and authorities blame it on worsening socio-political stalemate.

Solid waste management in underdeveloped and developing countries represents a dangerous issue due to environmental impacts and human illnesses triggered by waste released into water bodies and by the practice of open burning which are usually underestimated by Governments. The lack of funding, public awareness, technological facilities and know how worsened the situation. In the crisis-hit North West and South West Regions of Cameroon the tense socio-political climate prevailing due to the Anglophone crisis has compounded situations the more.

A walk through the main streets of Bamenda is an eyesore of a dirt-feast the Ntarinkon market, to the Main market, Food market, Metta quarter and the famous “Fru Ndi” junction, heaps of garbage dumps compete against each other.

In most of these areas the dirt has been piling there for two months without being carried. Road and market uses are apparently helpless in spite of the discomfort they may be suffocating from: stench odor, breeding grounds for disease-transmitting organisms, air pollution…

A number of reasons have been advanced for this situation but the blame seems to reside on the degrading political climate due to a three year running crisis in this Region.  Anglophone separatists have instituted a no-work day (ghost towns) every Monday already cutting off some work hours for the dirt clearing company- HYSACAM. To make matters worse they have been threatening to send out this company from the Region. Some of their street cleaners have been attacked and their trucks burnt and roads leading to major dump sites have been blocked.

While the separatists argue that their actions are meant to put pressure on government seek a rapid solution to the crisis, a cross-section of the population thinks that hygiene and sanitation is one of those sectors that should be kept out a political struggle, because a health crisis will make no distinction between political actors.

Shu Tracy-Daisy Nchang

COMINSUD’s Volunteer

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