Thin Plastic Fight: Activist Riled by Injunction on Ban

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Malata

Environmental activist Mathews Malata has voiced strong objections to a recent court injunction that has halted the Malawian government’s ban on thin plastics. 

High Court Judge Simeon Mdeza granted this injunction to eleven companies, preventing authorities from implementing the ban scheduled to start on July 9, 2024.

The affected companies include G.S Plastic Industry, Jagot Plastics LTD, Sharma Industries, O.G Plastics Industries (2008) LTD, Plastimax LTD, QINGDAO Recycling LTD, Shore Rubber Lilongwe(LTD), City Plastic Industry, G.

Plastics Wholesale and Retail, Polypack LTD, and Flexo Pack LTD. They successfully obtained the injunction just as the Malawi Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) and Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change were preparing to enforce restrictions on thin plastics measuring less than 60 microns in thickness.

Expressing his disappointment with the court’s decision, Malata criticized the injunction for enabling these companies to continue adding to Malawi’s plastic pollution crisis. 

Malata took to Facebook, stating, “This decision raises serious concerns about prioritizing corporate interests over environmental protection and public health. The ban on thin plastics was established to combat plastic waste and mitigate its detrimental impact on our environment.”

Malata also questioned how MEPA and the government would respond to the injunction, urging them to either appeal the decision or explore alternative methods to enforce the ban. He emphasized that the battle against plastic pollution in Malawi remains ongoing and requires active participation from citizens.

Interestingly, despite similarities, the Supreme Court of Appeal recently dismissed a comparable case with costs involved. In Civil Appeal Cause No. 29 of 2021, Chief Justice Rizine Mzikamanda declined to grant a stay order sought by Golden Plastics Limited to suspend the enforcement of the thin plastics ban.

Initially, the ban aimed to prohibit the production, distribution, importation, and sale of thin plastics under 60 microns in Malawi, reflecting efforts to tackle environmental challenges posed by plastic waste.

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