We are in the city of Goma, in the east of the DRC. Here is a small company that makes charcoal briquettes like no other. While the production of charcoal has a devastating impact on the forests of the Congo Basin, here the charcoal briquettes are environment friendly because they are made from household and agricultural waste.
This innovative company was created a few years ago by a local entrepreneur.
Patrick Kirere, the managing director of Brisol explain the procedure of making the briquettes.
"We start by collecting waste from different households and markets, then we sort it. Then we proceed to carbonise it before grinding it in order to have a homogeneous mixture with the binder we mix it with. Then we press this mixture in our briquette presses before drying, packaging and marketing."
This ecological alternative not only protects the environment by limiting deforestation, but also creates jobs. The company employs nearly 40 people.
With this green coal, households can benefit from a clean and cheap fuel. This is what motivated this mother to abandon traditional charcoal for this more ecological alternative.
"In the past, I used to use embers, because I didn't know about these ecological briquettes. I used to buy at least one bag of embers at 30 US dollars and I used them for one month. But now I buy a bag of these briquettes that covers my cooking expenses for two months at only US$15. " says Dorcas Mathe, consumer of Brisol ecological briquettes.
Today, initiatives such as these are crucial in the fight against deforestation. The DRC has lost 20% of its rainforests in thirty years. That' s much more than neighbouring Gabon, and almost as much as Brazil.