Fighting Plastic Pollution: Cameroonian Bakeries and Pharmacies Take the Lead

Bakeries and Pharmacies across Cameroon have taken up the challenge to #BeatPlasticPollution, falling in line with the campaign to stop polluting the world with non-biodegradable plastics as the international community observes World Environment Day this Monday, June 5, 2023.

The theme of this year is “Solutions to Plastic Pollution”, a call to think of ways of stopping the latter that affects the highest points and deepest areas of the world.

To reinforce the fight,the Government of Cameroon banned the use of non-biodegradable plastics so as to fight pollution back in 2014.

This move was accompanied by the production of biodegradable plastics, though many businesses were still able to acquire the banned plastics clandestinely.

Years later, however, the production of biodegradable plastics has dwindled, and many like Dr Pamela Matienou, a Pharmacist, say they do not have access to the plastics.

Paper, the Means to an End to Plastic Pollution

In order to keep the fight against plastic pollution and with the limited number of biodegradable plastics available, many businesses in Cameroon have resorted to the use of paper and other possible means.

This is the case of pharmacies and bakeries especially.

It is common place to buy at a bakery and be handed over your products in a carefully stapled paper designed as an envelope.

Other bakeries do not go for stapling the paper…they simply wrap up the product in a paper large enough to contain it.

Over at pharmacies, the name and contact of the pharmacy are most times, printed on a paper glued into an envelope and used to serve medications after purchase.

Others like in some bakeries, wrap up the medication in a light paper designed with the pharmaceutical symbol.

According to Dr Pamela Matienou, the papers serve the purpose of protecting the environment.

Mireille, who works at a bakery is of the same opinion, “Since the ban of non-biodegradable plastics, we switched to papers which are our own means of avoiding plastic pollution.

Leaves, Handy to Fight Plastic Pollution

Another good example to note is the increasing use of leaves to wrap loaves of corn fufu, a common staple in Cameroon.

The local dish was mainly prepared and wrapped with plastic papers but the ban on plastics led to the use of banana leaves amongst others.

If such examples are copied by all and sundry, plastic pollution will certainly drop a great deal in Cameroon.

Eleanor Ayuketah Ngochi

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