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Cameroon Country Situation Report on Plastics

Over the past few decades, the massive production of plastics worldwide has posed a real threat to the existence and well-being of all living creatures. This virtually uncontrollable rise in the use of plastics is a matter of serious concern to health professionals, environmentalists and biodiversity advocates. In Cameroon, the issue is just as pressing, and requires special attention from all stakeholders. With this in mind, “Action des Femmes pour une Planète Bio (AFEPB)”, a non-profit organisation committed to supporting government action towards safeguarding the planet from the threats posed by climate change, hazardous waste and substances, and many others, has deliberately set out to assess the situation of plastics in Cameroon. The purpose of this initiative supported by the IPEN Francophone Africa Hub is to promote the development and well-being of the local population, especially the most vulnerable groups such as women, young people and minorities. As part of this project, our focus has been on researching and collecting data on plastic flows in Cameroon, with a view to fostering national and international action. Similarly, we focused on raising awareness among decision-makers and managers in the private sector on the one hand, and consumer associations and the general public via the print, online and social media on the other hand.

Unfortunately, to date, Cameroon has no legal framework defining harmful chemicals and prohibiting their use in items, including plastics. The only framework regulating plastics is the joint 2012 decree by the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Commerce, which came into force in 2014 and bans the production of packaging under 60 microns. It's worth noting that this joint decree makes no reference to the chemical additives contained in plastics, let alone the ingredients used in their production. It is clear that the country has no regulations in place to address the issue of chemical additives of concern in the millions of plastic materials in use. This is certainly one of the major challenges that the new national focal point on the plastic treaty, and certainly Cameroon’s civil society, should focus on over the next decade.

This report relates to the Sustainable Development goals 3, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 16.

Special thanks to IPEN's Francophone Africa Regional Coordinator Achille Ngakeng, IPEN"s Francophone Africa Regional Hub CREPD, and especially to the lead author, Action des Femmes pour une Planète Bio (AFEPB),  for their important contributions to the development and finalization of the project.

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