wePlanet Africa Launches Campaign To Reduce Charcoal Use Across Africa


wePlanet Africa, a grassroots organisation committed to combating climate change and ending energy poverty, has initiated a compelling campaign to significantly decrease charcoal consumption across Africa.

In the “Reduce Charcoal Use” campaign, wePlanet Africa is encouraging African citizens to participate in an online pledge, committing to practical steps that transition from wood fuel to alternative energy sources such as LPG, biogas and electricity.

The campaign aims not only to secure individual pledges but also to generate awareness, promote sustainable alternatives and address the environmental challenges and health risks linked with charcoal production and usage.

Deforestation in Africa is exacerbated by factors such as agriculture, human settlement, and the prevalent use of charcoal and other wood fuels. The International Energy Agency’s regional energy outlook reports that over 70 per cent of African families lack access to electricity, relying solely on charcoal and other wood fuels for cooking.

Director of wePlanet Africa, Patricia Nanteza emphasises the substantial contribution of charcoal use to deforestation, posing severe threats to the environment, contributing to climate change and exacerbating indoor air pollution.

Apart from its impact on forests and ecosystems, the production and use of charcoal present serious health risks, especially concerning indoor air pollution – an escalating challenge for Africa. A Unicef report, titled “Silent Suffocation in Africa,” notes an alarming increase in deaths due to indoor air pollution in Africa, rising from 164,000 in 1990 to 258,000 in 2017 – a growth of nearly 60 per cent.

According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, deforestation in Africa is transpiring four times faster than the global rate, resulting in an average loss of an estimated 40,000 square kilometres per year. Patricia, unveiling the campaign, stresses that deforestation leads to biodiversity loss, increased carbon emissions, disruption of ecosystems, and water cycles, exacerbating the disease burden among local communities due to climate change.

The “Reduce Charcoal Use” campaign focuses on five key strategies to address these challenges:

  1. Raising awareness about the harmful impacts of charcoal use.
  2. Promoting sustainable alternatives like clean cook-stoves and renewable energy sources.
  3. Strengthening legislative frameworks to deter illegal charcoal production.
  4. Supporting local initiatives that create sustainable livelihoods.
  5. Fostering collaboration and partnerships among various stakeholders.

Patricia highlights that by actively involving communities, governments and the private sector, wePlanet Africa aims to shift the energy landscape in Africa toward cleaner and more sustainable sources. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to mitigate climate change, protect fragile ecosystems, empower local communities, improve the quality of life for those dependent on charcoal and reduce exposure to indoor air pollution, especially among women and children.

wePlanet Africa Kenya coordinator, Timothy Machi underscores that the campaign intends to be a catalyst for change, spurring widespread adoption of sustainable alternatives and prompting governments to enforce regulations protecting forests and advocating responsible land management practices.

“WePlanet Africa calls upon individuals, organisations, governments and the international community to join hands in the fight against charcoal use in Africa,” Machi declared.

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