Malawi announce ban on plastic imports

The Malawi Government has issued a ban on the production and importation of thin plastics, which are popularly used in Malawi as either carrier bags or packaging materials, saying they are difficult to dispose hence not environmentally friendly.

The ban targets plastics with a thickness of less than 60 micron meters.

“Due to this…most people resort to the hazardous practice of open burning. This results in the release of dioxins and furans into the air which contribute to rising cases of cancer in the country,” the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management said in a statement obtained by Nyasa Times.

The ban is effective April 30th, 2013.

Products of Arkay Plastic Industry: Best buy Malawi
Products of Arkay Plastic Industry: Best buy Malawi

The ministry’s Principal Secretary Dr. Ntupanyama said after this date environmental inspectors and other law enforcers will be empowered and strategically placed to ensure compliance.

“Government is encouraging consumers and the general public to use alternative environmentally friendly carrier materials such as paper bags or sisal bags that can be reused and are biodegradable,” Dr. Ntupanyama said.

She said government is calling upon all Plastic Manufacturers and importers to desist from ordering thin plastics.

“Banning the production, importation and use of thin plastics, would therefore result in … reduction of plastic nuisances at disposal sites as well as in the general surroundings, reduction in littering and improvement of aesthetic value of the environment

“Reduction in blockages and spillages in sewers, storm water drains and pipes which require a lot of money to rectify,” Ntupanyama said.

She also said the ban apart making foreign exchange savings to be realized from avoided imports for raw materials will improve the environment quality and human health.

In another related development, the ministry has approved the implementation of the ‘Polluter Pays Principle’ in Malawi as contained in the Environment Management Act 1996.

“The principle requires that the costs of pollution and damage caused should be borne by the polluter. The rationale is to curb the level of environmental degradation and natural resources caused by polluters by hold them accountable for their activities,” Dr. Ntupanyama said.

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