Dozens of people were searching for filled gas cylinders in the evening a few days ago in Yaounde, the capital of the African country of Cameroon. “I ran out of gas… and so I asked my supplier to get a new cylinder, but he also doesn’t have a full cylinder,” a woman with an empty gas cylinder on her head told DW.
The woman told that she was trying to find a filled gas cylinder, but despite visiting many places, she could not find the cylinder. This has become a common problem in many areas of Cameroon. However, the clear reason for the shortage of domestic gas is not coming to the fore.
It is being said in the local media that gas retailers are facing problems in importing gas. At the same time, it is also being speculated that gas cylinders are being hoarded to sell them at prices higher than those fixed by the government.
Sri Lankans are returning to wood stoves
Most people use LPG for cooking in the capital city of Yaoundé and the country’s major city Douala. According to the data available for the year 2017, 63 per cent of the households in these two cities cook with gas only. In such a situation, these urban people are facing a lot of problem due to lack of gas. On the other hand, some sellers are adopting wrong methods to earn more.
Collins Suh, who was carrying a gas cylinder on a motorcycle to Yaounde, told DW: “I went to buy a gas cylinder. I thought the cylinder was full, but when I tried to move it, I found a small hole.” Water is coming out of it. It was water.”
protect the forest and the people
The use of gas for cooking in urban areas of Cameroon has increased rapidly in the last few years due to the ambitious plan of the government. When the government introduced this scheme in 2016, its objective was to increase the use of LPG by more than three times. The plan was that by 2030, 58 percent of Cameroonian households would cook with gas.
As part of the mega plan, an investment of $392 million was made to strengthen LPG infrastructure to be used for gas storage, refilling and transportation of empty cylinders To be.
Promoting the use of LPG is beneficial for both the general public and the environment. In Cameroon, people traditionally prepare food on wood stoves. At the same time, some people also use charcoal made from wood. This is the reason why large scale deforestation is done in Cameroon to use wood as fuel. The country’s Congo Basin is the world’s largest rain forest area after the Amazon.
However, cooking food on a wood stove is very harmful for the environment. Not only does it emit five times more carbon than LPG, but it also plays an important role in climate change.
Wood fuel is also hazardous to people’s health, especially if people cook food indoors. In this situation, the small particles released in the environment reach the lungs of the people. This increases the risk of pneumonia in children and heart disease and lung cancer in adults. Women do most of the work of collecting wood, which takes a lot of time. All these problems go away by using LPG.
UK-based University of Liverpool conducted a study in 2020 regarding the use of LPG. It was found that cooking on LPG saves forests. At the same time, there is a positive impact on the health of the general public and society.”
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return to the wood stove
At present, the lack of gas is forcing urban dwellers to revert to the tradition of cooking with wood or charcoal. Asked a woman what she is currently using for cooking, she said, “African women should remember their roots. We are cooking on a wood stove.” Another woman said, “Due to lack of gas, I had to cook rice on a charcoal stove.”
Forbes Phillip, an environmentalist in the city of Douala, is worried about people returning to using wood stoves again. “This is not good news for the environment,” he says. “However, fewer people in Cameroon use wood than in other parts of Africa. If urban residents return to using wood, it means that rural More and more wood is being brought into the cities from the region.”
dependence on imported gas
Natural gas production has started in Cameroon since 2018. Since then the country is processing a part of it to supply LPG in the domestic market. The country’s refineries produce around 34,000 metric tonnes of gas annually, while the domestic requirement is 1,50,000 tonnes. In such a situation, it is necessary to import gas to meet the needs.
The government has said that it is planning to import 1,20,000 metric tonnes of LPG this year. However, the current gas shortage problem has not been resolved yet.
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