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Plastic ban to cost jobs

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Manufacturing companies of plastic products in the country have said the ban on production of thin plastics will result in the laying off of workers because the industry is afraid of making losses.

The ban failed to be implemented since 2012 following a Cabinet approval due to court battles between the concerned companies and government.

A surprise visit to some manufacturing companies in Blantyre by officers from the Department of Environmental Affairs under the Ministry of Natural Resources Energy and Mining confirmed that the companies started complying with the provisions of the Environmental Management (plastics) Regulations a month ago.

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The regulations prohibit the importation, manufacture, trade and commercial distribution of plastics, plastics bags and plastic sheet made of plastic film for use within Malawi, with a wall thickness of less than 60 micrometres.

Owner of GM Plastic Company, Pariq Dulzar, said the ban disturbed workers because they fear retrenchment following the implementation of the regulations.

He also said if the company produces plastic bags of more than 60 micrometers, the price will be three times higher.

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Dulzar said the company is contemplating laying off some of its staff members if government does not intervene.

EasyPack Limited Factory Manager, Bhargar Upadhayay, said the company halted production of thin plastics on April 1, saying since then, the company has been recycling the thin plastic for other uses.

“The migration from thin to thick micro plastic requires total discard of machines and purchase of new manufacturing machines. This will cost us about US$15,000 to completely modify the machines so that we switch off our production to the thick micro plastics,” said Upadhayay.

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