The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Cameroon:
- Water pollution
In both rural and urban areas, people suffer because of the poor water quality in Cameroon. In rural areas, people walk great distances just to reach rivers. In the capital city of Yaoundé, only 35 percent of the water needed for survival is distributed through pipes. That percentage is simply not enough to provide for an entire city. Individuals are then forced to travel to rural areas in search for rivers to collect water. Drinking unsanitary water leads to diarrheal diseases, such as cholera. The World Health Organization reports that there are at least 1.3 million cholera cases yearly in Cameroon.
Cameroon is a country of more than 23 million people. Out of the entire population, 24 % of people live in poverty, and 55 % of those in poverty live in rural communities. Two causes of poverty in Cameroon and reasons for the gap between rural and urban poverty are a lack of infrastructure and an education system that fails to develop alongside shifting labor needs.
Proper education isn’t accessible to children of Cameroon, especially in poor regions. The expected years of schooling, on average, is about 10 years. The adult literacy rate of around 70 percent is due to lack the proper funding, infrastructure, and teachers in the educational system. In Cameroon, 43 percent of the population has little or no formal and primary education.
As of 2017, the food security and nutrition situation in Cameroon remains worrying. In Adamaoua, food insecurity seems to have dramatically worsened, rising from 19% to 39% within one year. Malnutrition remains of concern, especially in Logone and Chari located, in the Far North, where severe acute malnutrition is at an emergency level (2%). This situation is due to repetitive shocks such as the continuous influx of refugees from the Central African Republic and Nigeria, increasing insecurity and natural disasters in a context of lack of global basic services. In 2016, several departments have registered food deficit which combined with disruption of economic exchanges between Nigeria, impacted incomes and livelihoods in Adamoua, North and the Far North. Refugees and IDP children are particularly affected by rising malnutrition. Humanitarian partners estimate than 65,000 children under 5 will be affected by severe acute malnutrition.
Cameroon has 18 national parks and equivalent protected areas covering about 2 million hectares (6 million acres), about 4.4% of the country. Deforestation results from fuelwood collection and subsistence farming. Overall, Cameroon lost 13.4 percent of its forest cover or 3.3 million hectares between 1990 and 2005 and deforestation rates have increased by 10 percent since the close of the 1990s.