Fresh from the Field: Advocating for a clean environment in Cameroon

Updated: Aug 26

Waste disposal, particularly plastic waste, is a significant problem across Cameroon: there are insufficient trashcans or collection barrels where people can dispose of their plastic waste, and many communities lack the funds or the means to regularly clear or recycle plastics. As a result, plastic waste is often thrown away in water ways or on unused land. Not only is poor waste disposal harmful to the environment; it also causes the spread of disease. Research has indicated that floating plastic can be perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which spread cholera and malaria to nearby communities. With a growing population in Cameroon, plastic waste management is becoming an urgent issue.

Cultural customs can also lead to unsanitary disposal of menstrual supplies: it is believed that menstrual products should not be visible to others, especially once they are used, and so they are often thrown away in creeks or buried, adding pollutants to the environment.

Elvis, an environmental leader from our partner organization OGCEYOD, noticed the growing problem of plastic and menstrual health management product waste, i.e., pads, in his community in Lower Motowoh, Cameroon and decided to address the two issues together. Previous efforts to raise awareness were unsuccessful: community members found the lecture format used in the presentation to be lengthy and difficult to connect with.