Skip to content

Ghana Ponders How to Regulate Secondhand Clothing Market

Prior to the pandemic, American NGO the OR Foundation estimated about 15 million items of second hand clothing arrived weekly and that about 40 percent ended up discarded. That means aside from the livelihoods this trade supports, Ghana is burdened with discarding what the West doesn’t want. The coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, has had a major impact here. Fewer imports are coming in and buyer demand has decreased. Those who live on daily wages are especially vulnerable. They have been reliant on NGOs and charitable support to survive. Legislation banning secondhand undergarments, mattresses and sanitary ware took effect in 1994 due to health fears and concerns Ghana was being used as a dumping ground, but some of these items can still be found in the markets. A Ghana Standards Authority officer said porous borders are partly to blame but added the current clampdown has led to a “huge reduction” in these items. NGO People’s Dialogue on Human Settlements says there are negative implications for bans like this for those who rely on selling these goods and those who buy them due to their cheaper price.