Following a two day workshop on “Environmental Law and Litigation organized by The Foundation for Environment and Development; (FEDEV) some Fako based Green Lawyers visited dumpsites in Buea and Mutengene, November 20 to investigate on poor waste management.
The two-day workshop on “Environmental Law and Litigation” empowered over 50 lawyers from Littoral and South West Regions of Cameroon with skills on environmental litigation, the collection and analysis of evidence in environmental cases, the criminalisation of environmental issues amongst others.
Armed with environmental litigation skills, the “Green Lawyers” led by FEDEV engaged a fact-finding team to Dibanda (also known as Mile 14) in Buea Subdivision. The team observed the poor waste disposal by residents and inappropriate waste management by local authorities. In addition to other adverse effects of improper waste disposal and management, Benoe River, a nearby river flowing in the valley beneath the dumpsite gets polluted from the waste dumped uphill.
From here, the team moved to Mutengene where another dumpsite exists by the road, on the hill below the CBC Central Pharmacy. Wastes dumped here comprise of plastics, metal bottles, and other environmentally harmful objects that have engulfed a deal of farmland. Excess waste from this dumpsite also empties into river Benoe. According to residents the team spoke to, River Benoe is an important source of water to the local population. According to residentswho were at local hotels, restaurants,, households, and the Tiko Council are the main source of wastes disposed here. The popultion also said the local Council periodically pushes the wastes from the roadside down the hill into River Benoe and rainfall completes the process.
The team took stock of possible environmental dangers this practice poses to the current and future generations and pledged to seek environmental justice for the people of Dibanda and Mutengene in Buea. Visiting Middle Farms in Limbe, the team observed an investor encroaching into a river and reclaiming land for construction.
While FEDEV encourages local development, the team lead, Barrister Nchunu Justice Sama recommended that the investor should conduct an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment before progressing with work.
Here, the team equally pledged the commitment to ensure that the land is not developed to the detriment of sustainable land use.
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