Environmental News from Africa:
Concerned about illegal logging and pollution in Banco National Park in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital Abidjan, authorities are erecting a concrete perimeter wall that they hope will preserve its distinctive ecosystem.
Banco spans more than 34 square km (13 square miles) of western Abidjan, making it the second biggest urban park in the world, behind only Rio de Janeiro’s Tijuca National Park.
Some of its wildlife, which includes monkeys, chimpanzees, and 500-year-old trees, is considered sacred by locals, and its shady trails are a haven for hikers and bicycle riders from the city of 5 million’s traffic-clogged streets.
But Banco is threatened by pressures from Abidjan’s rapid growth. Locals illegally chop down trees to build houses and dump their trash in the woods, officials say.
Parks officials hope to put an end to that. On a recent day, dozens of construction workers stacked concrete bricks two-and-a-half meters high along a muddy patch of land between the highway and the park.
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