The African continent is one of the most vulnerable in terms of sustainability, as many of its countries have been dealing with the threats of desertification - the process of productive land becoming desert. As land in Africa has become dry and degraded, water is increasingly scarce and a major concern. In "Sustainable: In Africa," an hour-long CGTN documentary, we meet individuals who are making a difference in trying to overcome this formidable challenge.
Drought, climate change, urbanization, poverty. They all play a role in desertification.
Upper East Ghana was once a region where the land was beautiful and green. But once the crops started drying up, it became a struggle to survive. Residents began migrating to other locations. Julius Awaregya is part of an initiative, ORGISS, that is trying to change that. His organization is planting trees across the Sahara. The "wall of trees," he tells us, will increase rainfall and improve the soil.
Access to drinking water is another critical issue. In Stellenbosch, South Africa, Dr. Reynold Chow is studying the quality and quantity of ground water. He's developing a system to increase underground storage levels which are becoming depleted. Maintaining an adequate supply of groundwater is critical as residents rely on it during a drought.
In Capetown, the invention of a new device by a South African resident is helping keep the waterways and shorelines clean. The "WasteShark" is a drone shark the size of a coffee table. It rides on the water and swallows plastic and debris which it then stores in its "belly." Eugene Van Eck, from Ranmarine Technology, says getting tech to tackle the problem of plastic pollution has been an effective solution. The WasteShark collects up to half a ton of trash in a day.
Some sustainability programs in Africa serve a dual purpose. Laly Lichtenfeld of the African People and Wildlife Fund, has created an association of African women's groups to start a beekeeping initiative. She tells us beekeeping protects the environment because by hanging a beehive, the habitat around it becomes protected by law. Her program also empowers African women. It gives them a voice in government and provides them with an income from the honey they produce.
Sustainability is a global challenge. Dry continents like Africa are confronting more problems than most places as a result of climate change. "Sustainable: In Africa" shows that individual efforts, like the ones mentioned above, can make an impact. Progress can be made to safeguard future generations and the planet.