Hele Pierre sounded the warning last weekend in the Yaounde VI council area where some inhabitants carry out land reclamation.
People recovering wetlands for construction purposes in the Yaounde VI council area have been called upon to desist from such practices which are not ecologically friendly to the environment.
The call was made by the Minister of the Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, Hele Pierre, who was on a field visit to wetlands in the Simbock neighbourhood.
The field assessment of the marshy area was to mark the 21st edition of the World Wetlands Day, Friday February 2, 2018, commemorated under the theme: “Wetlands for a sustainable urban future.”
According to the minister, for there to be sustainable urban development, drainage systems have to be cleared to permit water follow its course unperturbed in other to avoid disasters. The minister reminded the locals struggling to recover wetlands that the law prohibits construction on such sites.
For his part, the Mayor of Yaounde VI, Jacques Yoki Onana said biodiversity in his municipality is in danger. He said marshy lands have been grabbed by locals in Simbock who neither have building plans, talk less of building permits. The municipal authority said there was urgent need for concerted efforts to return the situation to normalcy in order to save the environment for future generations.
A census carried out by the Yaounde VI council shows that wetlands account for 7km2 of the municipality’s total surface area. Some 400 houses have been identified in the wetlands which accommodate over 2,000 people. The residents are at risk of flooding and related disasters, Cameroon Tribune observed.
It should be noted Cameroon, in order to ensure a sustainable urban future, has been engaging in different operations, amongst them: Sustainable Development, Operation Green Cities, Operation Sustainable Cities and Operation Clean Cities.
The World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year to mark the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. The day is used to raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands. Cameroon is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention.