World Environment Day : The Tall Order Of Beating Plastic Pollution

On June 5, 2023, the «Association des Femmes Professionnelles de l’Eau, de l’Assainissement et de l’Environnement du Cameroun » AFPEEC and REDPLAST cleared drains in Sandaga Market, Douala.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, the world is inundated with plastics, with more than 400 million tonnes produced every year. Half of which is designed to be used only once. Of this amount, less than 10 per cent is recycled. While an estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers and seas. It is for this reason that this year’s World Environment Day was celebrated on Monday June 5, 2023 with focus on solutions to plastic pollution. 

Commitment Of Volunteers, Partners  
As part of the global event, the charity, REDPLAST, organized a plastics collection activity in Douala’s Sandaga Market. They were joined by members of the «Association des Femmes Professionnelles de l’Eau, de l’Assainissement et de l’Environnement du Cameroun, » AFPEEC. “It was a great show of commitment and fraternity amongst different teams, partners and the authorities. In line with this year’s theme of “Solution to plastic pollution,” I saw in the commitment of everyone a ray of hope in the fight to eradicate plastic waste,” commented REDPLAST Director General, Mr. Ngonde Elong Alain Rodrigue.

Recycling Plant Under Construction 
“Plastics are still very much with us, despite today’s technology. However, plastic sacs will soon be of the past, given the robust legislation put in place by the Cameroon government, which prohibited the use of plastic wrappings since 2012. For plastic bottles, an ultramodern 12,000-tonne-per-annum-capacity recycling plant is under construction in Douala. I can assure you that despite this perennial problem, things are changing on the ground; even habits,” Ngonde disclosed.   

Solutions At Source 
“To eradicate plastic waste, you must begin by reducing its use right from the source. For example, the use of environmentally-friendly wrappings ensures that they have a lifespan. Secondly, we should begin to look towards less expensive and less polluting wrapping material. Finally, routine activities like eco-jogging or doing morning sports while collecting plastic bottles; clearing culverts or drains; carrying out sensitization in schools and homes, etc should be given greater attention,”  Ngonde Elong Alain Rodrigue counseled. 

Everyone’s Concern   
“The civil society and other groups are increasingly becoming aware of the need to sensitise the public. Much remains to be done because plastic pollution concerns everyone and the whole planet. It also has to do with our future, which depends on an environment free of plastic pollution,” said Mrs. Geraldine Mpouma Logmo, the President of the « Association des Femmes Professionnelles de l’Eau, de l’Assainissement et de l’Environnement du Cameroun. » 

Still A Long Way Off 
She however warned that given the present state of things, plastic pollution in Cameroon cannot be eradicated now. “It is true that efforts to eradicate plastic pollution have not been strictly implemented. Shops continue to use plastics in wrapping their goods, table water is sold in plastic containers….. We are not yet on track to eradicating plastic pollution. We must raise more awareness and carry out increased advocacy so that we can one day get to the level of banning the use of plastics. I believe with more political will and the commitment of all stakeholders, we can do more,” Geraldine Mpouma averred. 

Stricter Legislation, Implementation 
In order to mitigate the impact of plastic pollution, Mpouma proposed stricter legislation and implementation on the use and eradication of plastics; assistance to those current...



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