Urban and industrial waste from Yopougon, Abidjan's biggest district, has transformed his village of 3,000 inhabitants into an open dump. Image: Sia KAMBOU / AFP
It was once a jewel of West Africa -- the "Pearl of Lagoons," people liked to call it. Today, the vast Ebrie lagoon which abuts Ivory Coast's economic capital Abidjan is a sick and sorry sight, choked by plastic pollution and ravaged by sand extraction and unbridled development.
Named after an ethnic group that lives on its banks, the lagoon covers 120,000 hectares (297,000 acres), mostly separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a strip of land.
Old-timers wax nostalgic about the days when its waters were a pristine aquamarine and mangroves teemed with fish and wildlife.
Today, the shoreside village of Beago exemplifies a nightmarish problem with plastic.