Malawi: Thin Plastics Ban Effective July

Deputy Director for the Environment ManagementMs.Taonga Mbale speaking during the workshop on the ban of plastic papers - Pic by Stanley Makuti

Lilongwe, June 19, 2015: After legal battles with the thin plastics manufactures in the country, the Department of Environmental Affairs has finally set 30 June 2015 as the official date of the ban of use of thin plastics.

Acting Director of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Tawonga Mbale, told Malawi News Agency, in an Interview on Friday, that after court proceedings the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which has enabled them to implement the enforcement of the ban effective 1 July, 2015.

"As you all know the ban was effective 30th June 2014, but the association of the thin plastic manufactures took us to court on basis that we did not give them enough time to dispose of the thin papers they had in stock, so we gave them a year to clear the mess and we believe that now the actual ban will materialize," she said.

Mbale said they have made partnerships with different Government Departments to help roll out the ban, if some resistance comes up.

She also revealed that, they are already two private companies in the country who have ventured into recycling.

"Government has already identified two companies, one from Blantyre which is operational and one in Lilongwe (Kanengo) which is in its pilot phases to do recycling of the thin plastics," explained Mbale.

She said customers are advised to use alternatives which are the thicker plastics and carrier bags that will be environmental friendly and on sale on a subsidized price.

In her remarks, Chief Legal Officer in the Department, Victoria Kachimera explained that they have developed an Environmental Management Bill which if passed will replace the

Environmental Management Act No.23 of 1996 because of its weakness to address overlaps and conflicts in the existing legal instruments governing environment and natural resources management.

She added that the country continues faces serious problems associated with environmental degradation which have negatively affected the social and economic development of the country.

According to Kachimera, apparently the country would be richer by MK27 Billion each year if soil, fishery and wildlife and other natural resources were used sustainably.

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