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Senegalese divers plunge to end Dakar’s plastic tide4 minutes read

In real terms, their cleanup was Sisyphean: they removed a molehill in a mountain of plastic that is relentlessly growing

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Senegalese divers plunge to end Dakar's plastic tide
A canoeist delivers plastic waste and other items collected by scuba divers from a bay during a 'clean-up day' campaign of the ocean off the coast of the capital Dakar on September 15, 2019. - President Macky Sall, sworn in for his second term in April 2019, has proposed turning Senegal into a "zero waste" nation. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP)

When the sight of plastic bags, bottles and other debris littering the seabed becomes too much, there’s just one thing to do: don your diving suit, strap on an air tank and fish out the stuff yourself.

That is the solution adopted by Oceanium, an association of amateur divers in Senegal.

In a few hours last month, divers removed hundreds of kilos of plastic rubbish in the waters around the island of Goree off the capital Dakar — the jewel in Senegal’s tourism crown.

In real terms, their cleanup was Sisyphean: they removed a molehill in a mountain of plastic that is relentlessly growing.

But it provided temporary relief for local biodiversity — and gave a push for environmentalism in a country where green issues trail far behind the drive to ease poverty.

“We’re here to clean up,” exclaimed Ndeye Selbe Diouf, a young woman who took up diving two years ago and said she had lost count of fish she has seen trapped in bottles near the shore.

Oceanium’s diving director, Rodwan El Ali, 36, said the problem of plastic rubbish in Senegal was acute.

Senegalese divers plunge to end Dakar's plastic tide
A man empties a sack delivered by a canoeist who picked up the sacks of plastic and other waste collected by scuba divers from a bay during a ‘clean-up day’ campaign of the ocean off the coast of the capital Dakar on September 15, 2019. (Photo by SEYLLOU / AFP)

“People go to the beach and drink and party, and if there are no rubbish bins, they leave it on the beach and it’s swept into the sea with the tide,” he said.

Ali, a member of the ethnic Lebanese community that has been in Senegal for generations, took over Oceanium with his sister after its founding by their father, Haidar, a former environment minister.

“When we see fishing nets tangled around shipwrecks or plastic littering the sea bottom, we organise a cleanup,” he said.

Their first operation took place in 2017 and is moving towards a monthly cleanup dive — even weekly, if funding becomes available.

‘Dustbin’ –

“People throw everything into the sea because they think it’s big,” said Mamadou Ali Gadiaga, who has been a member of Oceanium since it was founded 35 years ago.

“It’s a hard job but you have to make people aware of the problem. The sea is not a dustbin.”

Twenty-two divers took part in a cleanup in mid-September, using two boats for operations and a third as a floating bin for the rubbish.

Senegalese divers plunge to end Dakar's plastic tide
A handout image made available by Oceanium de Dakar shows scuba divers collecting plastic and other waste from a bay during a ‘clean-up day’ campaign of the ocean off the coast of Goree island on September 15, 2019. (Photo by HO / Oceanium de Dakar / AFP)

By the close of the operation, they had hauled up 1.4 tonnes of debris — mainly plastic but also rusty drink cans, torn clothing and other discarded items.

This gesture for the environment has to be weighed against the realities.

Even though Senegal is in the upper tier of developing economies, it has no recycling facilities.

The rubbish that was so arduously brought up from the bottom of the sea was sent to a huge garbage tip at Mbeubeuss, where household waste from Dakar’s three million people is discharged.

According to the UN, globally, around eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the sea, providing a deadly hazard for birds and marine mammals and breaking down into microscopic waste that also enters the food chain.

Around nine billion tonnes of plastic have been produced since the substance was produced on a large scale after World War II, but just nine per cent of this has been recycled.

In Senegal itself, environmental awareness remains low compared with the rising swell of campaigning in the rest of the world. Only a few dozen young people turned out on September 20 for the planet-wide environment rallies.

President Macky Sall has said he wants the country to be “zero waste” but discarded plastic containers and bags are an eyesore in many towns and villages, and a 2015 law to restrict the use of plastic bags is a dead letter.

Central Africa News

Aubameyang Names Rwandan Baby Gorilla “Goal”

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Gabon international striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang named a baby gorilla ‘Goal’ at Rwanda’s annual mountain gorilla naming ceremony Kwita Izina held Thursday virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ceremony which was held late on Thursday 24 September was conducted on the World Gorilla Day, which was first observed on September 24, 1967, when Dian Fossey an American researcher, founded the Karisoke Research Center to study endangered mountain gorillas.

Fossey was one of the foremost primatologists in the world and spent 20 years in Rwanda, where she actively supported conservation efforts, strongly opposed poaching and tourism in wildlife habitats, and made more people acknowledge sapient gorillas. Her work largely helped reduce the downward population trend in mountain gorillas, saving them from extinction. She was murdered in her cabin at a remote camp in Rwanda in December 1985.

“Conservation, tourism, and community development go hand in hand. Each reinforces the other. I commend the people living around the park for being good stewards of the natural environment and such warm hosts for our visitors,” Rwandan President Paul Kagame said during the virtual ceremony.

At Thursday’s ceremony, nine female and 15 male baby gorillas born between May 2019 and June 2020 from 12 families, were given names by national volcanoes park rangers, vets, guides and three players from Arsenal FC. In May 2018, Arsenal signed a 3-year deal worth £30 million with the Rwanda Development Board to promote tourism in the country and also sponsor the team’s shirt sleeves on matchday shirts.

One of them born during the coronavirus pandemic was named “Amabwiriza” (Guidelines), as a ranger calls for gorillas visitors and people in general, to abide by guidelines to stop the spread of the virus.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who has scored 72 goals for Arsenal FC, who he also captains, named the baby gorilla ‘Goal’ calling for ‘collective goals to their protection’.

Defender Hector Bellerin named one ‘Iriza’ (First born), while goalkeeper Bernd Leno named another ‘Myugariro’ (Defender) saying it will be his pleasure “to meet my baby boy gorilla”.

Among other names given to baby gorillas include;

Amarembo – Gateway
Nkomezamihigo (Keep it up) – Born in June 2020
Kazeneza (Welcome) – Oldest of a new one year old family of gorillas
Umuyobozi (leader) – In honor of Rwandan authority’s efforts in conservation
Umuganga (Vet) – Given by Dr Antoine Mudakikwa a retired gorilla vet

The powerful mountain gorilla is now critically endangered with only around 880 left in the wild. They’re found in high-altitude montain and bamboo forests – sometimes at elevations of 4,000m – where they mainly eat leaves, shoots and stems.

More than 1,000 gorillas live in Virunga Mountains, a chain of volcanoes between DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

Since 2005 more than 300 gorillas have been given names in efforts to monitor their life and protect them from poachers, it was said in the 16th event, the first virtually held because of coronavirus.

Aubameyang, Bellerin and Leno return to action with Arsenal on Monday 28 September when they visit Anfield to face reigning Premier league Champions Liverpool.

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Nigerian Entertainer On Trial For Shooting Porn Movie In Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove

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A Nigerian adult movie star has been arrested and charged for allegedly recording a porn movie in a sacred grove.

On Monday when he was brought before a Magistrates’ Court, Tobiloba Jolaosho, popularly known as King Tblak HOC, was remanded in custody by the court for violating the Osun-Osogbo sacred grove in Nigeria’s Osun State.

Magistrate Isola Omisade of Magistrates’ Court in Osogbo remanded the 27-year-old pornstar and five others at Ilesa Correctional Centre before adjourning the matter until Sept.17.

Those remanded alongside King Tblak HOC are Ladiva Aije, 22, Juliet Semion, 24, Ahmed Olasunkanmi, 23, Adeniran Eritosin, 29, and Tunde Jimoh, 27.

Police Prosecutor, ASP Idoko John told the court that the defendants were caught in the nude or half-naked before they were apprehended by the security authority.

He told the court that the defendants conspired among themselves to carry out the act at the Osun-Osogbo traditional shrine, being a religious ground of worship

John said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 516,233,517, of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol ll, Laws of Osun ,2002

They were said to have commited the act on July 25 around 12.30pm.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Osun-Osogbo sacred grove, home to Osun, the Yoruba goddess of fertility, is a Unesco world heritage site in a forest on the outskirts of Osun state.

According to the police, King Tblak HOC had recorded a ‘sex movie’ in the site.

Footages from the video showed King Tblak HOC, a popular porn movie producer with a huge following, dressed in the white robe of adherents of the Osun deity.

The videos were posted on his website and social media accounts.

It is not clear how he entered the forest, which can be accessed from many routes.

A follower of the deity, Yemi Elebuibon, who is known as the Araba of Osogbo, said King Tblak HOC desecrated the grove, which was a sacred land where worshippers from Nigeria and elsewhere offer prayers and sacrifices to the Osun goddess.

“The traditional worshippers in charge of the grove will decide on what punishment to mete out to him after the police conclude its investigation,” Mr Elebuibon said.

Declared a World Heritage Site in 2005, Unesco describes the grove, as “one of the last remnants of primary high forest” in southern Nigeria and “as the abode of the goddess of fertility Osun, one of the pantheon of Yoruba gods”.

The Osun goddess, according to Yoruba mythology, was one of the many wives of Sango, a powerful deity in Yorubaland.

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GHOne TV Anchor, Jazzi Sangari Would Rather Spend Money on a Ring Than a Wedding

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The Ghone Tv news anchor, Yazzi Sangari, lends her voice to the conversation on the necessity of spending huge amounts of money on wedding ceremonies.

Yazzi Sangari said she would rather spend her money on an expensive diamond ring or an expensive gold ring whose value will go up over time. 

During the conversation, Hiplife Grandpapa Reggie Rockstone and his wife Zilla Limann asserted to the belief that weddings are a waste of money. 

Conversing with the blogger, Zion Felix, the couple who people have tagged ”relationship goals”, and ”couple goals”, said  in their view, white weddings are unnecessary and a total waste of money and other resources. Then Yazzi Sangria added that she expects just her mother, her father, her husband and her in-laws at her wedding.

According to her, ”I am not spending my money for people to just chop and eat at my wedding. My wedding is me, my husband, my mother, my dad, and my in-laws and that’s it ”

She went on to say, ”personally, and this is just for me, the money I will spend on a wedding, I will spend it on a ring, because if the ring is made out of real diamonds, and real gold, it will actually appreciate, the value will go up”

Hiplife Grandpapa Reggie Rockstone and his wife Zilla Limann whose marriage people idolize say that marriage is a journey, and this journey should be fun and interesting and that there is no marriage without its own ups and downs. 

Zilla and Rockstone who have been together for over 20 years said they never had a marriage ceremony and that wedding is not a  necessary venture.

Zilla Limann added she does not believe in weddings, and that they did not even organize a big ceremony for their white wedding.

The on-air personality could not have agreed more with this couple, as she takes her stance in having a low key wedding.

Just a few days to this discussion, The Star FM 103.5 presenter had taken to Twitter to say she has never understood big weddings with tiny rings.

Yazzi Sangari seems to be taking the whole wedding and ring thing too personally, as she took to her Instagram page to confirm what she had already said on air, but this time, adding a twist to it. ”I never understood big weddings with little rings. It just does not make sense. A marriage is between two families, I don’t see the need for huge weddings. I would rather invest in a ring, our house or a college fund for our future kids”

The news anchor and presenter believes in securing the bag for the future, as opposed to spending it on a day’s celebration where people will just ”chop” and leave.

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