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Journal of Scientific Research and Reports, ISSN: 2320-0227,Vol.: 2, Issue.: 1 (January-June)


Informal Waste Recovery and Recycling: Alleviating Poverty, Environmental Pollution and Unemployment in Douala, Cameroon


L. O. Mbeng1*

1Institute of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Douala, at Yabassi, P.O.Box 7236, Douala, Cameroon.

Article Information


(1) Masum A. Patwary, Geography and Environmental Science, Begum Rokeya University Rangpur 5400, Bangladesh.


(1) Anonymous.

(2) Anonymous.

(3) Kamal A. R. Ismail, State University of Campinas, Brazil.

Complete Peer review History: http://www.sciencedomain.org/review-history/1655


Aims: The aims of this research paper is to investigate the role of the informal waste recovery and recycling sector in Douala, Cameroon in alleviating poverty, environmental pollution and unemployment.
Study Design: The design consisted of a survey of 72 randomly picked waste pickers involved in the recovery and recycling of four waste fractions: scrap metals, plastics, bottles and papers and cardboards.
Place and Duration of Study: PK 12 “Genie Militaire” landfill operated by HYSACAM,at Douala, Cameroon, between October 2012 and December 2012.
Methodology: The methodology consisted of two parts: a quantitative survey using random sampling and qualitative interviews designed to add depth and detail to the survey results. Participant observation, site visits and literature review from international journals and reports were carried out.
Results: The study reveals that poverty trends in Cameroon is higher in the rural than in the urban areas, a major cause of rural– urban migration. In Douala, a real migration hub for the unemployed, the recovery and recycling of four waste fractions; scrap metals, plastics, bottles, papers and cardboards was found to be very profitable. This is because, the minimum wage of Cameroonians, 746 FCFA (US$ 2) per day was found to be lower than the daily income, 1000 FCFA–1500 FCFA (US$ 2.90–US$ 3.3) of the informal waste sector workers at the Douala landfill. Besides improving the livelihoods of the waste pickers, the amount of waste at the landfill is reduced hence mitigating environmental pollution. This is in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.
Conclusion: In an attempt to put waste pickers on the map, the study recommends alliances based on best practices found in other countries as well as the government to design programmes that will guarantee health, safety, identification and the creation of veritable markets for waste products.

Keywords :

Informal waste sector; recovery; recycling; poverty; pollution; landfill.

Full Article - PDF    Page 474-490

DOI : 10.9734/JSRR/2013/4436

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