Tonnes of coal waste are thrown away each year in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon.
The waste can pollute both the air and water supplies and is also a fire hazard.
Eric Tankeu came up with a environmentally-friendly solution – recycling the charcoal and turning it into a usable “green gas”.
Tankeu is no stranger to going green – for years he worked on different projects to help protect the environment.
He says the “gas” project has helped to repurpose many hectares of forest by reusing the discarded charcoal waste.
Tankeu explains that the “gas” is a synthetic gas, produced from carbon-containing materials. Not only charcoal waste, but also biomass, plastics, household waste or similar materials.
The end product is bottled in a cylinder that can be used for a household stove.
Tankeu explains that his “gas” stove offers a safer and more sustainable way of cooking food or heating water.
A large part of Cameroon’s population has no access to electricity and domestic gas is expensive or even unavailable in some areas.
As a result, many Cameroonians rely on firewood and coal for cooking and covering basic needs.
According to Global Forest Watch (GFW), Cameroon’s forests are feeling the pressure.
The platform provides data and tools for monitoring forests online.
It says Cameroon lost 1.7 million hectares (4.2 million acres) of tree cover between 2002 and 2021, more than 5% of its total.
The main causes were harvesting wood for fuel, logging, and conversion of forests into agricultural land, GFW reported.