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Monday, July 15, 2024

Ministry takes bold steps on thin plastics

By Gift Chiponde

Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change says it will intensify efforts to implement the Environment Management (Plastics) Regulations of 2015 which bans importation, manufacturing, trade and commercial distribution of plastic bags and sheets less than 60 micrometres in thickness as one way of protecting and safe guarding the environment.

Principal Secretary for Natural Resources and Climate Change, Dr Yusuf Mkungula, disclosed this in Lilongwe on Monday during a press briefing to notifying the public of the consequent resumption of the implementation of Environment Management (Plastics) Regulations, 2015.

This comes barely after the withdrawal of an injunction filed by Golden Plastics Limited on 19 June, 2024 and the subsequent dismissal of the matter by the full bench of the Supreme Court of Appeal on June 20.

Mkungula stated that thin plastic is hazardous if not properly disposed and take a long period to degrade which can potentially cause threat to human health and environment.

He stated that companies which are producing thin plastics and using less than 60 microns in the country are operating illegally and will be punishable by law.

“As per the ruling, we will start enforcement on July 8, 2024 to ensure that the initiative is properly and effectively implemented.

“This is aligned well with Malawi 2063 Vision, specifically Enabler 7 on environmental sustainability which provides that Malawi shall have a safe, clean, secure and sustainable environment,” Mkungula said.

He urged Malawians to use reusable and recycled materials that are environmentally friendly when carrying groceries and other items.

Malawi Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Board Chairperson, Dr Robert Kafakoma, expressed satisfaction with the dismissal saying the initiative will help ensure that the environment is effectively managed.

He appealed to all stakeholders in the country to be custodians of environmental management by reporting all illegal malpractices to thin plastic production and distribution.

“This initiative is for everyone. I am calling upon all Malawians and all stakeholders to work collaboratively with the Ministry of Natural Resources and MEPA in safeguarding the environment,” said Kafakoma.

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