Desertification and the effects of climate change
In the mid-1970s, the problem of desertification in connection with famine emerged. In Burkina Faso, the leaders of the 1983-1987 revolution made the livelihoods of 80% of the rural population their main concern and sensitized the population to fight the three main causes of desertification (“les trois luttes”): bushfires, deforestation and overgrazing (before especially wild food by goats), which endanger the agricultural areas and the native flora.
Since then there have been generations of erosion control and reforestation projects. Various measures such as building rows of stones, composting, planting trees, wood-saving stoves… were practiced. The organization “Nafa Naana “is fighting against wood extraction with new, economical stoves (electricity is the domestic source of energy for only 13% of Burkinabe households). The success of these measures has exposed the myth that desertification is a natural unstoppable growth of the desert.
According to information from the Director General for Green Economy and Change in the Ministry of the Environment, it is the effects of climate change generally about a reduction in precipitation, although the rainfall increases at the beginning and towards the end of the rainy season. In the two months with the highest rainfall (July and August) the rainfall will decrease, but it will rain more in October. It is therefore to be expected with extended rainy seasons. Torrential rains and dry spells during the rainy season will increase. Both the maximum and minimum average temperatures rise by 2.5 ° C to 5 ° C. According to PNUD, experts predict a rise in temperatures for Burkina Faso of 3 ° to 4 ° C within 100 years (until 2099), far more than the world average. Temperatures will rise especially in the rainy season and in the north. The climate is becoming more extreme (droughts and floods).
The WASCAL organization wants to help ” acquire new knowledge about the effects of climate change and develop skills on how climate change can be analyzed and how the fields can be managed accordingly.” To this end, WASCAL set up a database at the University of Ouagadougou.
According to a study by the CPP (Coordination du Program Nationale de Partenariat pour la Gestion Durable des Trres) 34% (more than 9 million hectares) of the arable land in Burkina Faso has been degraded. Desertification remains a ticking time bomb in Burkina Faso, where 80% of the population work in agriculture, with rising population pressure and increasing climate change. According to the unanimous opinion of experts, protection from erosion and an adaptation of agricultural production methods to the effects of climate change are therefore the order of the day. In this context, Burkinabe municipalities are being supported by a German GIZ project.
In order to adapt to climate change, FEM projects such as field schools for practicing suitable agricultural measures are financed and implemented with the FAO.
According to businesscarriers, the Burkinabe government is pursuing a national plan for adaptation to climate change (NAP). This essentially involves intensifying already practiced methods of preserving water and soil (zaï, rows of stones, crescents, composting, retention basins…), improving cultivation and processing techniques, diversifying cultivars, improving product processing and value chains as well as access to small loans.
Internationally, Burkina Faso is heavily involved in the fight against desertification: The seat of the CILSS (Comité permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel) is in Ouagadougou. Arba Diallo, ex-mayor of Dori and second in the 2010 presidential elections in Burkina Faso, brought the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) secretariat to Bonn in 1999 and headed it as Executive Secretary for 10 years. He died on October 1st, 2014.
Air pollution, plastic waste
In addition to this national ecological problem, the very strong, health-damaging air pollution in Ouagadougou should be mentioned. Road traffic increases by around 3.5% annually. Thousands of mopeds with two-stroke engines clog the streets almost around the clock. Lead in fuels leads to ever higher levels of pollution from extremely fine particles that are hazardous to health. Uncontrolled waste incineration is another factor in air pollution.
One problem is the waste of mostly black plastic bags, which can prevent vegetation roots from growing in the ground and often lead to death for cattle if swallowed. They litter whole swaths of land on the outskirts of the city. Tons of plastic waste are collected in Ouagadougou and taken to a depot in Ouaga 2000 for disposal and reuse. However, organizational deficiencies emerge, with collectors often not being paid.
On February 21, 2015, a new law on waste management came into force, banning the manufacture, import, marketing and distribution of non-biodegradable plastic packaging and bags. An investigation in September 2017 found that 104 out of 129 companies examined continue to distribute plastic packaging that does not comply with the law.
Poison from mines in soil and water
Above all in the Sahel region, the area around the northern Dori, illegal gold mining causes severe, unmanageable environmental damage to the soil and surface water through toxic waste from mines. Cyanide (hydrocyanic acid salt), nitric acid, mercury and zinc are often used in overdosed amounts when prospecting for gold.
After the government was overthrown at the end of October 2014, the SOMIKA mine was looted and trade and smuggling routes were no longer controlled. With the start of the 2015 rainy season, these harmful chemicals are washed into the soil and reach the groundwater in lakes, causing flora and fauna to perish.
Over three years, the international institute for hydraulic engineering and the environment investigated the harmful effects of use of cyanide investigated and new measures recommended in Kampti in June 2017. The consequences of using cyanide would be underestimated and are often not even known. The team of experts said that cyanide should no longer be used.