Delay to ban thin plastic papers enrages Malawi parliamentary committee

The Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (MPCC) wants the Speaker of Malawi’s National Assembly, Richard Msowoya, to engage Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda over the High Court’s delay to pass judgement on the banning of thin plastic papers in the country.

Chilenga: We will not sit back and watch justice continue being delayed

Members of Parliament (MPs) that attended an MPCC meeting in Lilongwe on Thursday took turns in expressing their dismay at the delay, saying the court’s action is perpetrating the suffering of Malawians.

Apparently, Judge Healey Potani is currently handling the matter.

It is a case dating back to 30 June in 2014 when the Department of Environmental Affairs issued a ban on thin plastics of less than 60 microns, arguing the papers are hazardous to humans, wildlife and the environment.

However, in 2016 Aero Plastic Industries and Plastics Association of Malawi obtained a stay order, restraining the implementation of the ban.

The court ruled in favour of the Department of Environmental Affairs on 14 June this year.

But two weeks later, Aero and the plastics association appealed against the ruling.

The date for the judgement of the appeal case which was initially supposed to be 12 August, was adjourned to 4 September and then adjourned again.

Currently, the new date for the judgement remains unknown.

The Thursday’s MPCC meeting enabled the Department of Environmental Affairs to brief MPs on the status of the case.

Michael Makonombera from the department disclosed that there is continuing proliferation of thin plastic papers in the country, a situation, he said, is putting citizens, animals and the environment at risk.

This honest revelation angered the parliamentarians and plunged the meeting into a heated discussion.

“What is wrong with this country? Some of our neighbours successfully implemented their ban on thin plastics in just one year,” complained Victor Musowa who is also Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Natural Resources.

Chipped in Nkhata Bay Northwest Legislator, Commodious Nyirenda, “I think as MPs, it is high time we teamed up with relevant stakeholders such as the media to constantly speak out against such injustices upon our people”.

And vocal MP Jessie Kabwira did not hide her disappointment: “We need to make our position known to the people of Malawi that we are not happy at all and are not part of this delay of justice”.

MPCC is a forum of some of Malawi’s MPs interested in conserving the country’s environment and wildlife with the Speaker and State President as Coordinator and Patron respectively.

Co-Chair, Chitipa South Parliamentarian, Welani Chilenga, emphasized that such delay of justice is not sitting well with his caucus.

“We will not sit back and watch justice continue being delayed. The more the judgement is delayed, the more these foreigners will manufacture plastics and spoil our environment. They will leave the country once they fulfill their sinister motive”.

Chilenga said for now, they want the Speaker to diplomatically engage the Chief Justice as his fellow head of a government arm, the Judiciary, on why the judgement on plastics ban is being delayed.

“We want to move fast. We will allocate timelines with regard to the execution of the actions we want towards the quick resolve of this issue. If our ultimatums are defied, we will resort to extreme measures,” concluded Chilenga.

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Farmer
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Farmer

I beg you Mr President. Instruct the judge to set a date as your have the authority. Dont just sit and watch as our animals are dying due to this problem. This year alone i have lost 6 goats 5sheep all swallowed thin plastics

vbn
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vbn

it very pathetic that we sit down and watch bad things happening under our noses. these thin plastics are hazardous to the environment. it my prayer that once the delivers the judgement there should be no grace period. they have already made billion of kwacha.

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