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Delays in plastics ban ruling worries ministry

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The ban of thin plastic papers in the country risks being in limbo, as manufacturers have produced huge quantities of the product ready to be sold for over 10 years to come.

The Plastics Manufacturer Association of Malawi obtained an injunction restraining the ministry from implementing the ban arguing no proper procedures were followed.

However, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has expressed worry over the court ruling delay arguing it is failing the ministry’s efforts in inenvironmental conservation.

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Speaking in an interview with The Daily Times, spokesperson in the responsible ministry, Sangwani Phiri, said the ministry is hopeless with the development, hence the court should speed up the ruling.

“We are concerned over the lack of ruling on the matter. We were supposed to get the outcome in March this year. The hearing was not supposed to go beyond in April this year. But till now, we are just waiting.

“After they dragged us to court, we stopped our exercise of enforcing the law. We thought they would also temporarily suspend manufacturing their products until the ruling is made. But, unfortunately, they are over-manufacturing,” Phiri said.

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Efforts to speak to Judiciary spokesperson, Mlenga Mvula, proved futile as he would not take our calls.

However, an environmental activist, Geoffrey Mfiti, said the delay is negatively affecting effort to end environmental degradation which many countries are fighting together.

However, Mfiti said the challenge is due to lack of political will on the part of the executive arm of government to influence the policy.

“In Rwanda, they faced a similar problem but they fought the implementation of policy in Parliament with no objection. While here, in Malawi, the matter was referred to the court. How are we going to make proper implementation of related environmental policies?” he queried.

Government banned the use of thin plastic papers as it promotes papers that qualify the three Rs of reuse, reduce and recycle currently also promoted at international level.

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