Gallon business – Plastic Drums, Containers Sold to the Public Possibly a Health Hazard

By Atu Adele NGWANA
Yaounde, Cameroon

The doubtful hygienic conditions of some second hand industrial plastic drums, also known as “gallons” in Cameroon that are sold to consumers, are possibly a health hazard.
However, it is no big deal to merchants who sell them to make money.

Sellers hardly reveal to buyers the original content of these drums. To this effect the users suffer from the outcome. Most of these gallons gotten from petrol stations and chemical industries are never treated or properly washed before sold. Household users suffer from the effects of these containers, so are businessmen and women who use these gallons to store and sell cooking oil and palm wine to consumers.

Gallon Business - some of these gallons are of doubtful hygienic conditions

Gallon Business - some of these gallons are of doubtful hygienic conditions

Talking to a public Health Clinician, Ajeh Rogers A, he said diseases such as cancer, destruction of a fetus, gastric and diarrhea may result from chemicals originally stored in these containers.

According to Rosine Ndongo, a gallon vendor at the Mvolye neighborhood, she gets the containers she sells from Brasseries and SOFAVINE. She says she doesn’t see any use treating them before selling when she knows the previous content could either be whisky, wine, juice, or beer.

The seller further explains that the prices of these containers vary, 5litres is sold for 500 FCFA, 20 liters costs 800 to 1000FCFA and 1000 litres is sold for 75,000FCFA. The Informant also got to learn that it is a seasonal business and at times the sellers can go for a week without selling.

According to a Yaoundé City Council official, completely stopping the sale of containers is inevitable, since most of the vendors earn a living from it. With the scarcity of water at times in Yaoundé, household users cannot cope without buying. Likewise businessmen and women need to buy to stock their products. So, it is going to be advisable if the users properly treat these containers with disinfectants like camel water before use.

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