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Nneota Egbe is a veteran host at eco@africa. He reveals what he's learned in that time, describes some memorable moments and explains what Africans and Europeans can learn from each other regarding the environment.
DW: So this is your 100th eco@africa show. You have spent a lot of time looking at environmental issues in Africa and Europe. What is the most important thing you have learned? Why?
Nneota Egbe: It's been remarkable and really fun. One of the things that I've come to learn is that everyone of us doing our little bit where we are — like paying more attention to the things you do and how they affect our environment — helps to make our lives and the environment a lot better. In other words, the smallest thing we do, even the things that we think do not matter, matter a great deal to the environment. So, you and I, as we sit, as we walk, even as we drive or play, we can make a difference from where we are. It doesn't matter what part of the world we are in.
What do you think the importance is of mixing European and African topics in the show?
Linking Africa and Europe via this show is one of the best things we've done. Why? Because, yes the Europeans might be advanced technologically, but there are some things that are done traditionally in Africa that the Europeans can borrow and enhance upon to help their own side of the environment. The Africans can also borrow the technological advancement and indeed research knowledge from the Europeans and put it into practice here. Seeing that what I'm trying to do in Africa, has already been done in Europe, encourages me to go ahead and push through with what I'm doing.
To make the show we often have to take complex topics and try to make them easy to understand. What one story really sticks out in your memory?
Asking me to pick one story out of 100 episodes with more than five stories per episode is really difficult. Some really remarkable ones stand out. I'll pick up the story of a young man in Anambra State in Nigeria, who goes out to pick plastic waste and turns it into cooking oil for himself and his family. He then uses what's left after he makes the cooking oil to repair the roads to his house. Or is it Princess Abze Djigma of Burkina Faso supplying solar lamps to villages? Or is itpeople in Austria who build sustainable mobile homes? I can't say which one is most remarkable. So please don't put me under this kind of pressure (laughs). Every story stands out in its own unique way. Especially because we turn complicated stories it into something simple that everyone can relate with.
We have covered many different areas — solar power, recycling and wildlife — are there issues we have missed in the last 99 shows?
We've looked at solar power, recycling and wildlife. We've looked at sustainable living in many different ways. I think one of the areas we've not really given much attention, is how government policy is affecting the efforts by individuals to protect the environment and to live sustainably. Sometimes the individuals will be doing their bit, struggling and striving to ensure the environment is protected and their lives are sustained. But government policies sometimes don't take the affect on people into account. And then people get discouraged. They pull back or relocate from that place to somewhere else or that effort just dies a natural death.
We should also look at the role of sport in environmental sustainability. How can sports help? We had several stories on football fields that generate electricity. These are stories we should look at as well: what role sports can play in ensuring that the environment is sustained and we all lead a better life?
This interview was edited and condensed for clarity