Malawi government starts thin plastics disposal

Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has announced it will shortly embark on massive enforcement of the thin-plastic-ban through visits manufacturers and that there will be nograce period to finish selling stocks piled in their warehouses.

Government to enforce thin plastic ban

The ministry’s Spokesperson, Sangwani Phiri said the ban of thin plastics was put into effect the same day the Supreme Court of appeal made the landmark ruling.

He was reacting to the presence of thin plastic under 60 microns thick in different places countrywide despite the ban by the Supreme Court some weeks ago.

A seven-judge panel of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal in July, 2019 ruled in favour of a Malawi Government ban of the thin plastic bags by throwing out an appeal by companies which wanted the ban removed.

“Companies have to immediately start adhering to the enforcement ban on production, importation and exportation of thin plastics which is against provisions of the Plastics Regulations of 2015.

“Anyone who will be found contravening the provisions under the said regulations will face legal action, pay fines which shall at the time be deemed appropriate and in the worst scenario suffer closure of the premises,” said Phiri.

Phiri said the department had struggled for over two years to conclude the case.

Soon after the Supreme Court ruling, CEO of Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, Jonny Vaughan told the media the judgment was a fantastic victory for everyone who wants to see a cleaner, healthier, and prosperous Malawi.

He said public, political, and scientific opinion has long been in consensus on the issue of thin plastics so he was delighted that Malawi now joins a progressive international community standing up for their natural heritage.

Information sourced from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) website indicates that Malawi produces 75,000 tonnes of plastics every year of which 80 per cent is single-use plastic that cannot be recycled.

Plastic bags were first banned in Malawi back in 2015 but the country’s high court overturned the original ban in 2016 after 14 plastic manufacturers opposed the ban, saying it was “an infringement of business rights”.

This move means Malawi now joins 62 other countries around the world that have taken action on plastic pollution by banning the production or use of single-use plastic goods.

The decision to ban thin plastics has placed Malawi among a handful of African countries that have also passed plastic bans like Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda.

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