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article imageSale of second-hand underwear being banned in Ghana

By Lynn Curwin     Nov 26, 2010 in Business
A ban on selling second-hand underwear will take effect at markets in Ghana, beginning in February, and some people are very unhappy about the decision.
The Ghana Standards Board said used items such as underwear, handkerchiefs and mattresses are unhygienic and could pose a health hazard.
Second-hand clothing, which often comes from Europe, is popular because it is cheaper than items which are produced locally.
"Ghana is a third world country; we've been doing this all along, so why are they talking about a ban now?" Millicent, a market trader at the Kantamanto Market in the city of Accra, told the BBC.
"The authorities should think again because our livelihoods are at stake."
Cynthia, another market trader, said: "Second-hand underwear and other clothes we sell here at Kantamanto Market are better quality than new undies in the stores.”
She stated that customers look through the piles of clothing to pick out the best.
"No matter how poor the person is, they will not chose stained ones and we throw them away," she added.
The BBC reported that second-hand clothing is often called "obroni wewu", which translates as "white man's deads."
"I've been wearing 'obroni wewu' all my life from infancy - all the clothes you see on me today from up to down are 'obroni wewu' - and I never fell sick because of used clothes," said Doris, a shopper at the market.
The Ghana Standards Board said not all used clothes that are banned, and an education campaign is under way to educate people about the new law.
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