While some were penalised for ignoring environmental protection laws, a majority were faulted for distributing non-biodegradable plastics.
The Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development has fined some 395 companies for violation of environmental laws and pollution.
The list of companies made public on August 8, 2018 contains fines ranging from FCFA 1 million to FCFA 50 million, levied in accordance with the 1996 law on environmental management.
The fine of FCFA 50 million was levied on Societé camerounaise de Transport et D’entreprise Maritime, a Douala-based company faulted for illegally importing hazardous waste into Cameroon.
A majority of the companies sanctioned according to findings of an inspection study carried out in 2015, were shops, bakeries, pharmacies, drycleaners and enterprises fabricating, using and distributing non-biodegradable plastics. Most penalties in this category range from FCFA 1 million to FCFA 2 million, with a few of them amounting to FCFA 15 million.
Companies dealing in hydrocarbons and public works as well as product manufacturing such as Buns, Green Oil, Petrolex, Tradex, SOCAEPE, Cameroon Tea Estate, International Soap Factory, were equally fined heavy sums for failure to conduct environmental impact assessments before setting up structures and non-respect of environmental protection laws in the daily running of their businesses.
Some institutions such as health care providers and slaughterhouses were equally fined for unlawful waste disposal.
In recent years, government has embarked on several sensitisation campaigns to protect the environment, especially from dangers caused by the use and disposal of plastic waste which constitute 10 per cent of the six million tons of plastic waste disposed nationwide every year.
During the commemoration of this year’s edition of the World Environment Day, the Minister of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, Hele Pierre reiterated government’s resolve to end the use of non-biodegradable plastics.
He also said people circulating and encouraging the use of such plastics will be hunted down, noting that inspections are being carried out while customs officers are also preventing the importation of such plastics.
The recent sanctions testify that government has graduated to repression after many years in the sensitisation stage.