Testimonial from the NGO International Student coalition – CHAD (Chad)


Chad, a landlocked Sahelian country in the heart of Africa, covers an area of 1,284,000 km², 60% desert, with a population of around 17 million (INSEED), 78% rural and 22% urban, made up of three (3) climatic zones (Saharan, Sahelian and Sudanese) with an average temperature of 35°C. Chad is suffering the full effects of climate change, including

  • scarcity of rain
  • Reduction in arable land;
  • Lowering of the water table;
  • Continued drying up of rivers and Lake Chad, which has shrunk from 25,000 km² to 2,500 km² today;
  • Dwindling fish, wildlife and fodder resources;
  • Environmental and soil degradation, etc.
    Plastic waste pollution is a global problem that affects many countries, including those in Africa. In Chad, as in many less developed countries, the absence of plastic waste management policies is a serious source of environmental pollution. In the city of N’Djamena and the provinces of Chad, for example, it is clear that plastic waste abounds and contaminates ecosystems (soil, groundwater, living creatures, etc.). The consequences of this often go unnoticed, but they exacerbate the vulnerability of the country and its population, which is prey to poverty and the harmful effects of climate change. As a livestock-raising country par excellence, cattle are constantly ingesting plastic waste, which often leads to digestive problems and death. In addition, plastic waste clogs irrigation channels and drainage systems, which are already inadequate, causing flooding in towns during the rainy season. The consequences of this plastic waste pollution on human health are more worrying, but the solutions to be deployed are not up to the task. Scientific studies have shown that long-term exposure to the chemicals contained in plastics can have harmful effects on health, including hormonal, reproductive and respiratory problems (the growing number of newborn babies suffering from bronchitis and the millions of people suffering from typhoid fever and other illnesses in Chadian hospitals underline this scientific evidence). The proliferation of plastic waste in ponds and stagnant pools increases the risk of vector-borne diseases, including malaria, which has been the leading cause of death in Chad for several decades.

The city of N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, is constantly growing due to a variety of factors. This situation has led to the uncontrolled expansion of the city without adequate sanitation infrastructure, resulting in a high level of waste production, associated pollution and nuisance, and difficulties in managing it. Sanitation, drinking water and household waste management are essential to improving living and health conditions and social well-being. According to Ordinance 11-014 2011-02-28 PR, (Article 3), the Code of Hygiene and Common Provisions of the text in force in Chad, stipulates that “any natural or legal person who produces or holds waste, in conditions likely to produce harmful effects on the soil, flora or fauna, degrade the landscape, pollute the air or water, generate noise or odours and generally harm human, animal or environmental health, is required to dispose of it in accordance with the provisions of this law”. In the absence of any clear education on sanitation and plastic waste management accompanying these texts and provisions, the issue of urban waste is considered and perceived in total ignorance by Chadians as a “triviality”. In the constant search for appropriate solutions to this social impasse, the population and town councils blame each other. The more the plastic pollution grows in scale and depth, the clearer it becomes that there is no beginning of an effective solution for Chad’s cities, apart from banning the use of single-use plastics (commonly known as Leda) in the city of N’Djamena, which remains insignificant.

ISEC CHAD is a national chapter of the International Student Environmental Coalition (ISEC), a global movement of young environmental advocates that strives to advance the skills, strengths and power of students in climate justice in order to forcefully push the world in a more just, inclusive and sustainable direction. ISEC TCHAD’s vision is to build a bridge between the actions its community needs today and a green future free from climate change, desertification, plastic waste and fossil fuels, where young people can dream bigger and be fully engaged in achieving the UN’s 2030 SDGs and updating the African Union’s 2063 agenda.

In order to contribute to the efforts of municipalities, public health organisations and development partners in Chad to find urgent and innovative solutions to this national concern, ISEC Chad, with the technical support of the ecological company Noudji Décor & Arts and the Global Wash Cleaning Network – GWCN, is proposing an ambitious initiative that has seen the investment of time, energy and creativity by its volunteers, Under the technical leadership of Bénédicte Motamra, Neldji Dohoram, Djimouya Honoré, Moussa Mahamat Boukar, the Head of Environmental Clubs, and under the coordination of Pitimbaye Sylvie, the Financial and Recycling Director of ISEC TCHAD, the aim is to demonstrate an innovative and creative approach to a functional method of waste management in schools with students, who are seen as community relays and forces for mass construction. This will bring significant added value to the usefulness of waste, which can be a useful resource, while promoting a sustainable environment through the involvement of students and the promotion of good environmental practice in Chad.

The aim of the project is to raise awareness among Chadian students of environmental issues linked to plastic pollution by encouraging innovation and creativity through the use of plastic waste to create maps of Chad and dustbins as concrete examples. The project, which is currently in its pilot phase to test the relevance of the innovation being carried out by ISEC Chad, will cover the N’Djamena region, targeting around 20 schools (secondary and primary) and involving 2,000 students and 50 teachers.The aim is to produce more than 08 tonnes of recycled plastic waste, produce 20 maps of Chad and install 80 waste bins in 6 months, and triple these figures over the next 12 months.

Innovation and sustainability at the heart of this green initiative

The environmental education project, which focuses on recycling plastic bottles to make artworks and rubbish bins for distribution in Chadian schools, has a number of innovative aspects, added value and significant sustainability:

  • the use of plastic waste to make maps of Chad demonstrates an innovative approach to the reuse of materials. Rather than seeing waste as a problem, this project transforms it into a valuable resource. It stimulates pupils’ creativity and ingenuity to rethink the way they perceive and use waste;
  • The distribution of bins made from recycled materials demonstrates the added value of this project. These bins offer a practical and sustainable solution to a major environmental problem: waste management. They help to keep schools clean and prevent environmental pollution. What’s more, they encourage pupils to adopt good waste sorting practices from an early age, which will have a positive long-term impact on the environment;
  • the project is sustainable on several levels. Firstly, it encourages the development of a recycling and sustainability mentality among pupils, the adults of tomorrow who will become agents of change in their communities and, by extension, in our country. By involving Chadian schools, this environmental education project creates a culture of waste management that will endure over time, and the project can easily be implemented on a very large scale, in a way that requires very little financial and technical expertise. What’s more, by using recycled materials, the project is helping to reduce the consumption of new raw materials and the plastic waste that pollutes the environment in a Sahelian country like Chad, which is already at the forefront of climate change.

Alignment with national priorities

The project to recycle plastic waste to make the map of Chad and rubbish bins in Chadian schools is particularly relevant and aligned with the government’s priorities and the climate change objectives of Chad’s development partners.

The Chadian government, in its efforts to raise the level of ambition of its NDCs, recognises the importance of waste management and the fight against plastic pollution in preserving the environment and improving public health. The plastic waste recycling project responds directly to these concerns by offering a concrete, creative and innovative solution to reduce the amount of plastic waste and promote a circular and inclusive economy. The project is also linked to the government’s objectives in terms of sustainable development and climate change. By transforming plastic waste into useful resources, the project helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and disposal of plastics. It therefore fits in with the national agenda for transition to a green and resilient economy, and could be a preferred option for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Chad (companies manufacturing and selling mineral water, Brasserie du Tchad, etc.).

As for Chad’s development partners, they attach great importance to combating climate change and promoting sustainable practices. This plastic waste recycling project is an innovative and practical approach to meeting these challenges. It is also part of international efforts to reduce plastic pollution, promote recycling and strengthen the resilience of communities to the effects of climate change. This innovation could be used internationally to inspire other youth activist organisations to make a greater impact.

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