CHARCOAL BURNING – UP IN SMOKE

Most of Burundi’s charcoal is produced in the Mugamba region and most of it ends up as cooking fuel in the capital city of Bujumbura. If present trends continue all of Burundi’s forest will be gone by 2040. But family’s like Christophe’s are 100% dependent on the charcoal trade as are transporters who load up the heavy sacks on their flimsy bicycles. Everyone is at risk who takes part in this business: the charcoal producers face legal penalties and cancer from inhaling smoke, the transporters brave steep roads and hazardous traffic and the rest of the country faces an environmental catastrophe from climate change , drought and flooding.

In total, between 1990 and 2010, Burundi lost 40.5% of its forest cover, or around 117,000 hectares. Illegal tree cutting for charcoal production has been the primary cause, and charcoal burning has become big business in a country that depends on this inexpensive fuel source for cooking. But the long-term consequences of deforestation can be dire. This film explores the delicate balance between physical survival, economic development and environmental stewardship.