Due to low purchasing power, most households use charcoal as an energy source for daily cooking. Wood constitutes an important resource for families who have no other sources of energy for cooking.
The all-out development of charcoal production has been recorded in several regions of the country, and it is encouraged by the issuance of approvals whose supervision often escapes the competent services of the state. Due to the convenience offered by its use and the evolution of cooking habits, charcoal is increasingly being consumed by households, especially in the major urban centers of the country. According to projections, the demand for wood energy over the next twenty years will increase. This poses a serious threat to the environment.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), to produce one ton of charcoal takes about five tons of wood, which obviously contributes to deforestation. Also, when charcoal burns, it releases fine particles into the air causing air pollution. As the Nature, the science magazine specializing in environmental, ecological and biological news explains, “the combustion of one kilogram of coal releases approximately 3.7 kilograms of CO2, or the equivalent of 27 kilometers traveled with a classic car. “
To overcome this problem, several projects and ecological alternatives have been set up to help households have clean resources at a low price which are less dangerous than charcoal. Like the training and awareness project on climate change which uses the production of green charcoal and compost from agricultural waste for the benefit of the Goghin women’s group in Burkina Faso. This project was initiated by a non-profit association called SOS Energie Burkina (SOSEB). It aims to protect the environment by promoting renewable energies. The association trains and sensitizes vulnerable groups, especially women, to the effects of climate change by offering them an alternative to wood and charcoal.
Abdoul Dramane Conombo, who is an agent working in the Department of Water and Forests in Burkina Faso, has also embarked on the project of making ecological coal. The production of this combustible is, according to him, an activity that is both profitable and respectful of the environment. It is obtained thanks to a mixture of powder from burnt vegetable waste and water. He also said that the production of ecological coal contributes to the preservation of the environment, by reducing desertification and always keeping the forests clean. It is an activity that contributes to the creation of employment for young people, but also to cleaning up the living environment, by ridding industries of their waste. In addition to helping save forests, this activity allows the entrepreneur to earn a living.
For its part, the Africa Ecology association has set up a waste sorting and recovery center where organic waste, once carbonized, dried, crushed is then compressed with coconut shells and used by Burkinabè as cooking fuel and to warm up. This association led by Mr Azize Hem, a graduate in civil engineering, is fighting to find a solution to this environmental problem which threatens the ecosystems of his country.