Flirting with Disaster : Ghana becoming a dumping ground of European Scraps

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Story By: Comfort Acquah, Tema

As consumer price index remain unstable with the cedi continues depreciating against major foreign currencies, consumers purchasing power have also fallen and as a result have resorted to buying goods from second hand sources whose usage is a threat to life and the ecosystem.

Second hand goods such as refrigerators, car tyres, TV Sets, clothing, etc have rampantly found their way into the Country from the major European Countries.  These products according to recent investigations conducted on them by environmental experts cannot be recycled abroad and as a result Ghanaians with connections to these countries are doing brisk trading on them without knowing its corresponding effects to the unsuspecting Ghanaians who buy them.

Business Journal sources in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, London and U.S.A have told us that there are specific dumping sites where most of these used goods are sent.

According to our sources, owners of these dumping sites collect money from those who dump any unwanted goods there and the dealers who ship these unwanted goods into the Country also negotiate with the dumping sites owners either to pay a small fee or collect them free of charge so as to clear the dumping sites.

Our sources disclosed further that the rate at which used goods are been sought for by Ghanaians abroad, has created a big market for owners of the dumping sites and as a results those who cannot meet the demands have engaged the services of scouts to go from one refuse site to another in search for second hand goods.

A second hand tyre or refrigerator and in fact all the goods that fall in this category sell cheaper than a fresh one, a situation that is so irresistible to low income earners and keeps on attracting a lot of Ghanaian consumers.

But environmental experts think that the continuous shipment of used goods into the county is a possible avenue for some powerful economies to find a means to dump what has come to be known as scraps on unsuspecting countries like Ghana, there is no doubt that Ghanaian consumers are flirting with disaster.

What effect does this second hand goods therefore have on our economy?

When Business Jounal contacted Afko Imex, a Tema-based sole distributor of SamSung Home Appliances and Hancook tyres, to find out why second hand goods are over-shadowing a market that they should have controlled, the authorities admitted that although it is true second hand products are having a considerable stake in the market, user awareness is not strong enough to justify the need to buy new products hence the rush for used products.

According to them while a product like Hancook tyres have been on the market long before the introduction of trade liberalization programme, its patronage level which should have been higher by now appears to be competing with second hand tyres on the market, a situation which is creating very serious problem for dealers of brand new goods in the country and hither to needs intervention from the Ministry of Trade & Industry, they added.

A second hand tyre dealer at Ashaiman Timber market roundabout,Augustine Ayity told Business Journal that despite the noise been made about the effects of used tyres and other home second hand products on the environment, or the ecology for that matter, he and his colleagues in the business are providing a service that eases pains  motorists normally go through when needed money to buy tyres to replace the worn outs.

“As far as I am concerned, I am doing a genuine business so far as I don’t offend the law with my activities, I will continue to help my customers”, he told Business Journal.

What then could the Ministry of Trade do to control the situation in order to protect the local industries, and save lives from environmental pollution?

Nowever, Mr Solomon Owusu Yeboah, a Senior Testing Officer at Elie Company Limited (E. C.L), an organization contracted by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) at Tema to do thorough checks on vehicles has warned that continuous shipment of Used tyres, clothing and other gadgets into the country could spell a doom for our economy.

According to him, about 90 per cent of used tyres imported into the country are snow tyres.

“Temperature for the manufacturing of snow tyres is low as compare with the temperature in Ghana which is very high, so when you are using snow tyres in a high temperature like ours you risk getting accident because the snow tyre could bust at any little heat or pressure layed upon it,” he added.

He said their outfit has uncovered thousands of vehicles in our system that use snow tyres, and this, he thinks, contributes significantly to numerous accidents on our roads.

He has therefore suggested that, authorities at Ports and other entry points should block a way of bringing into the country such unwanted goods from outside the country to save lives, our industries and from environmental pollution.