Walking without polluting

Benoit Dupont
17 December 2019
ADEPS aims to drastically reduce the carbon footprint when its sportsmen and women travel by investing in the Great Green Wall in the Sahel and Sahara. ADEPS decided to ‘go green’.

 

Every Sunday and public holiday, ADEPS, the General Administration of Sport of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the counterpart of Sport Vlaanderen in the north of the country - opens around twenty "green points" throughout Wallonia and in Brussels. Marked trails of 5, 10, 15, and 20 km are available for both recreational and regular hikers. These activities have been hugely successful. Hundreds of thousands of participants (about 700,000 in 2018) take part in their favourite sport every year while enjoying a breath of fresh air on Sundays.

 

Greener walks

ADEPS surveyed the transport used by its faithful hikers. This revealed that 98% of them drive to the green point. Indeed, public transport is not suitable for this kind of travel: there is less service on Sundays and small villages are generally poorly connected.

Two Africans plant young trees in the Sahel
© ADEPS

However, ADEPS aims to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of its hikers. Several avenues are being explored: a carpooling platform is being proposed to participants on the ADEPS green points website; contact has been made with the TEC (Walloon public transport) and the SNCB (Belgian railways) to consider an appropriate offering; the choice of spots where walks are organised will be targeted (near a station or a bus stop). Finally, a partnership may be created to encourage the use of electric bicycles for getting to sports activities.

 

Offsetting CO2 emissions by planting trees in Burkina Faso

Despite all these initiatives, ADEPS realises that zero-emissions of CO2 will not be achieved in the short term. This is why it has entered into a partnership with the APEFE (Association pour la Promotion de l'Éducation et de la Formation à l'Étranger). ADEPS has invested €27,900 to train (via APEFE) local technicians in charge of growing and planting more than 122,000 forest plants of local species, grown in 25 nurseries located in Burkina Faso. This operation made it possible to offset 7,920 tonnes of CO2 over 15 years. The project is part of the larger African initiative of the “Great Green Wall”.

The Great Green Wall

 

The Great Green Wall is a wide-ranging programme designed to tackle desertification in the Sahel and Sahara. Launched in 2007 by the African Union, it aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, by planting trees and other adapted plant species. The desert is advancing, it is essential to keep its expansion in check!

The Wall extends over 8,000 kilometres (the entire width of the African continent) and involves 20 countries. 232 million people live in this arid or semi-arid region, one of the poorest in the world. In addition to environmental objectives, the goal of this ambitious project is to transform the lives of these indigenous people by enabling them to provide for themselves thanks to a productive environment. There are various partners in the programme: governments, international organisations, civil society, research institutes, etc.

Desertification Sahel Sport Forests
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