Corruption undermines the ban on plastic packaging in Cameroon- says Greenpeace

plastic packaging
credit: Genetic Literacy Project

The use of plastic packaging that isn’t recyclable endangers the environment as they are unapologetically thrown on every street corner once they have been used.

Eventually, single-use plastics end up buried in the soil and in streams. This use and discard process occurs over time, resulting in the clogging of sewers and other drainage systems in cities. As a result, the circumstance adds to the increase in flooding.

While about thirty-four countries have supposedly enforced bans against single-use plastics, such law is undermined by smuggling; Cameroon is a case in point.

Plastic packaging was banned in Cameroon’s marketplaces in 2014, however, the product is still available despite the restriction. Greenpeace released a press statement urging the government to increase its efforts to reduce the usage of plastic packaging.

Greenpeace is a non-governmental ( NGO) body that employs nonviolent creative action to pave the path for a greener, more peaceful future and to tackle the systems that endanger the environment.

The Cameroonian government is coming to Garoua, in the north, to trash 42 tons of non-biodegradable plastics. This huge consignment of 531 bales was confiscated as part of Operation Halcomi 3 during the night of September 19 to 20, 2021.

Piroguiers was attempting to illegally import these banned commodities into Cameroon when they were apprehended by Cameroonian customs officials. Greenpeace Africa applauds the move while urging the authorities of Yaoundé to step up their efforts to ban plastic.

According to environmental non-governmental organizations (NGO), corruption is to blame for the continued existence of plastic packaging on the Cameroonian market despite its ban.

Ranece Jovial Ndjeudja, Greenpeace Africa’s forest campaign manager said, “the Ministry of the Environment must ensure that the regulation prohibiting the use of plastic in Cameroon is followed more strictly. The agency possesses the necessary resources.

Because we observe that the joint decree of 2012 did not result in the expected disappearance of plastic from Cameroon’s counters, but rather in an increase in the prices of plastic packaging”.

The NGO expressed surprise that this sort of plastic packaging is still being used in Cameroon, some eight years after it was prohibited in the Central African country. Cameroon made public a decision in 2012 restricting the use of non-biodegradable plastic packaging with a thickness of fewer than 60 microns, which took effect in April 2014.

What this goes to show is that there are lots of underlying issues African leaders need to address to ensure the effectiveness of plastic bans.

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