Le Korsa is developing multiple programs to promote environmental sustainability throughout the Tambacounda region. It is one of the areas hardest hit by climate change and suffers from weak infrastructure, which means trash removal and recycling are challenges. We have focused our efforts on these two areas.
Most people in Tambacounda are subsistence farmers who rely on the rainy season for agriculture and food production. Because of rising temperatures, the rains have become unpredictable, and people now no longer when to plant, or plant their crops only to see no rain fall, or too much rain wash away their seeds. It is threatening people’s livelihoods.
To help the local population, we have initiated a large tree-planting program. From our tree nursery at Thread, we have helped distribute and plant over 2000 fruit trees in Sinthian and the surrounding villages. Anyone who wants a tree can have one for no charge, and we run workshops on how to plant them. These trees help stabilize the water table, prevent erosion, release oxygen, and are excellent food sources pollinators. They also offer people another food and income source — cashew, moringa, mango, and papaya grow readily — when other crops become difficult to grow.
Our Tambacounda office director, Massamba Camara, also maintains a tree nursery in Tambacounda and works with local authorities to plant them throughout the city.
Entire areas of Tambacounda are despoiled by waste. Trash burning is common. Because Tambacounda is a crossroads, tires are a frequent fuel for this highly polluting fire. Our environmental team of Shane O’Neill and Jaime Barry has been working with local artist Saliou Diop to transform old tires into beautiful furniture, thereby upcycling them.
Since initiating the program in late 2019, hundreds of tires have been turned into chairs, sofas, tables and planters. Our team holds workshops at local schools, including the Foyer de Jeunes Filles, to teach people how they can make this furniture themselves. Some schools have already placed orders for the furniture to be installed on their campuses, and we are working with Saliou Diop and other local partners to establish a sustainable business that will produce and promote the furniture.
We have created a useful guide for anyone looking to learn how make this furniture.
In November 2019, our environmental team visited Tambacounda’s local dumpsite and agreed that it was an environmental and health hazard. Waste was sprawling out of control and most of the dumpsite had been set ablaze. The site’s proximity to nearby small settlements, as well as to the city center, made it imperative to act in partnership with Unité de Coordination de Gestion (UCG), the company contracted by the city to bring trash to the site.
Providing expertise and financial aid, we are now working in tandem with UCG to ensure the dumpsite retains some form of organization to avoid it sprawling out of control. This is achieved by using trucks and tractors to push the waste material.
The next step to take with UCG over the coming months is to begin covering the existing waste with soil. The reality of the situation is that recycling and reusing the waste at the dumpsite is not possible. Pushing and covering landfill is a typical framework used by many waste management services in large urban areas. It removes the potential of fires being started at the dumpsite, as well as reducing wildlife interacting with the waste. Wildlife can spread both the waste and disease if landfills are left uncovered.
Our future plans, in accordance with local government, are to attempt reclaiming the land. Planting trees over the newly covered landfill will positively impact the environment, and hopefully create a new public greenspace. The same proposal has been put forward to the town council for the old dumpsite of Tambacounda, which has been closed to the public since the summer of 2019.
Clean Up Brigades
On World Cleanup Day, held on September 21st 2019, we launched a broad clean up effort in Tambacounda with many local partners, including the city government. Throughout the city of Tambacounda, small groups and associations, such as those led by rapper and activist Negger Dou, gathered to clean up the city of Tambacounda, using wheelbarrows and shovels and trashcans donated by both Le Korsa and the municipality. Our team worked with many of them to regularize this trash removal, and ensure it made it to neighborhood trash bins where it could be picked up by the municipality. Because the trash infrastructure there has been weak, it is an ongoing and challenging effort, but one we hope will become sustainable.