The Malawi government has started closing firms who fail to comply with the ban on the manufacture, import and use of plastic bags with a thickness of less than 60 microns.
Spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Climate Change in the ministry, Sangwani Phiri, explained that the closure of companies was in line with Section 76 (1) of the Environment Management Act number 26 of 1996.
Environmentalists have long accused plastic bags of posing an environmental and health hazard to people, as well as animals, with the potential to kill on average one animal every three months due to unintentional digestion or inhalation. They recommend the use of “environmental friendly bags,” which can easily decompose or be recycled.
Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining on Friday embarked on a crackdown to shut down manufacturing companies who failed to comply with the law to protect the environment.
The ministry officials closed Aero Plastics in Chirimba Industrial Area and Rainbow Plastic at Mapanga.
Abdul Majid Sattar the managing director of Rainbow Plastic said he would follow due procedure before resuming production.
Anchor Industries and OG Plastics at Ginnery Corner and Maone Industrial Area respectively, were fined K1 million ($1 333) each following last month’s inspection.
The closing of companies has not pleased Plastic Manufacturers Association of Malawi who initially filed a legal challenge in the High Court asking for judicial review over the ban .
Vijay Kumar chairperson of the association said closing of firms will have “huge impact” on the economy.
He said penalties for non-compliance with the ban should be fines, saying a number of companies such as Polypack, Easypack and OG Issa have already brought into the country new machines for producing the 60 microns plastic bags.
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