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Eco Eid: Niger activists promote tree planting to check deforestation

Volunteer activists hand out tree seedlings in Niamey   -  
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Every Eid in Niger, there is an uptick in the usage of firewood to cook meals for the celebration. In the capital Niamey, vendors remarkably increase their stocks of wood in the days leading up to Eid.

According to forecasts by the Niger Ministry of the Environment, more than 50,000 tonnes of wood are burned on Tabaski day alone in the capital.

It is for this reason that since 2017, volunteer environmentalists have been working to raise awareness among Nigeriens of the consequences of tree cutting on the environment.

Their organization has launched a campaign called ''Tabaski Ecolo". In addition to raising awareness, it is distributing mango seedlings, showing the capital's inhabitants the benefits of tree planting.

"As young climate activists, we said to ourselves that we must not stand idly by in the face of this, because this abusive logging is not without consequences for the environment. If we continue at this rate of consumption, over time future generations won't be able to cope, which is why we want to stop it," said Mohamed Siradj Adamou, a member of the NGO Young Volunteers for the Environment.

Only a tiny percentage of the country has access to electricity in Niger. The entire population of 26 million cooks almost entirely on wood.

"We the population need to plant enough trees to cover area area being invaded by the desert", said Aïssatou Sow, a resident of the capital.

In Niger, meat is traditionally grilled to preserve it. For several years now, people have been calling for alternatives to the use of wood.

Niger, which is facing rapid desertification and climate change, loses around a hundred thousand hectares of arable land every year. As a result, drought, food shortages and advancing ever closer to the capital.

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