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General News of Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Source: Cameroon Tribune

Youpwe Market Needs Cleanliness

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The Youpwe fish market is a busy marketplace with buyers. Unlike most food markets, hustling and bustling quickly dies down at about 11 am as teeming population is over with purchases on their menu. One thing remains permanent until buying and selling resume the next day - scavengers. They hustle to have a bite of leftover fish indiscriminately discharged in and around the market.

Along the coast of Douala there are no fish assembly markets, but one fish landing place - Youpwe. Youpwe is a hub for fresh fish from the waters of the Atlantic at the locality of Manoka in the Douala VI Subdivision and River Wouri supplying other markets in Douala and cities like Yaounde and Sangmelima the second most affordable protein after egg, although fish also gives vitamins. Landings fluctuate causing frequent changes in price and quantity of supplies. Since fish is consumed mostly in a short distance from production and landing, normally within the city, it is difficult to buy fresh marine products for consumption in far off regions of the country. Consequently, most of the products get bad on the spot and sometimes discharged into the environment.

Processors who basically remove scales, fins, gills, and stomach contents have become a major outlet for littering the market and its surrounding. Such leftovers, basically wastes, are often discharged directly into the Wouri River, into gutters within the market or allowed on the spot. Retailers place mats on the ground or low tables close to stagnant water blended with leftovers from fish and fresh vegetables (tomatoes, spices), and there is very minimal hygienic and sanitary care throughout the market.

Rocky, a processor, says most fish sellers don't have a freezer nor operate from a cool store thus most fish quickly get stale. He advises buyers and consumers to be vigilant when buying and where such marine products have been bought they should not be smoked before consumption. Inhabitants nearby the fish market face pollution problems, strange dogs, and great amount of flies. Fish market traders complain there are no toilets in the market, no regular dustbins.

Although the Douala City Council (DCC) operates in the market, almost all of the fish traders are not recognised formally in terms of title, place, and type of operations. Unfit environment and poor infrastructure are problems faced by the sellers, who now view DCC as only a set up to exact taxes.

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