The Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS), this week, announced a ban on the importation and selling of used underwear, with effect from February 1.
According to the RBS, the ban was a result of complaints from users who suffered from grave side effects after they used the products.
There is no doubt that dealing in used clothing or any other second-hand product can be a lucrative business. However, developing countries have turned out to be a dumping ground for the products, with the dealers not caring about the dangers to the customers.
Of course, used underwear pose a high health risk, considering that if the original owner had an infection, chances are high that the disease will be transmitted to the next owner.
While trade experts say that demand for the used clothes is high, considering that they are more affordable than new items, in the long run, it may not be the case.
If one contracted a disease as a result of using second-hand underwear, the cost of treatment is, without doubt, higher than purchasing a safe and new garment.
The ban is a step in the right direction. However, RBS may want to look at other used products that may pose a danger, not only to the health of the Rwandan people, but to the environment as well.
Meanwhile, entrepreneurs should take advantage of the ban, and set up industries that will manufacture new products. That way, they would be creating jobs, boosting their revenues, as well as supplying the market with quality products.