|Plastic bags banned by the April 24, 2014 decree on Bio Non Degradable plastics in Cameroon|
Law experts say what shop owners and industries who venture into this business fail to understand is that according to article 81 of the April 24, 2014 ban, they risk a FCFA 10 to 50 million fine as well as two to five years of imprisonment if caught dealing with such products.
But how effective is this law implemented? Here in Bafoussam, Kamkop, my neighbor Mr. Sylvain a shop owner told me “I still have a lot of bags at my disposal but because, I want to respect the law, I am selling it to a giveaway price to dealers”. Dealers like Ngenglefac Bonaventure in Yaounde who pays time without numbered FCFA 25 000 as fine to controllers from the Ministries of Environment and Trade in order get his products into the market. His products and other non-degradable plastics are highly in use today. Make a stop at the market or shop to buy anything anywhere in Cameroon and you are well served with a plastic as before the ban.
Although some few bakeries are fully established with the biodegradables, the number is very small as compared to the number of shops and markets in Cameroon. The Director of Standards and Control at the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature Enow Peter told Cameroon Tribune that a reasonable quantity of non-biodegradable paper might still be circulating and that they might be entering the country illegally; but cautioned the public to steer clear. He explained that the public should be aware that government wants plastic bags with focus on “thickness with a distinction of above 61 microns.”