Niamey – Non-governmental groups in Niger on Wednesday urged Nigeriens to use less wood to grill their mutton during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha this year to save precious trees.
They pleaded with them to replace wood with locally mined coal at barbecues to mark the festival due to start at the weekend, called Tabaski in West Africa.
The capital Niamey alone consumes “around 50 000 tonnes” of wood or the equivalent of 25 000 trees each year for the feast, the environment ministry has said.
“Mutton barbecues during Tabaski cause abusive wood consumption, which simply cannot continue with the climate crisis,” Sani Ayouba, the coordinator of one of the groups taking part in the campaign, told AFP.
Two-thirds of Niger is covered by desert, and each year the land-locked country loses more than 100 000 hectares (1 000 square kilometres) of arable land to desertification, the government says.