The battle between Malawi Government and Plastic Manufacturers Association of Malawi (PMAM) rages on as the court is yet to give its judgment on the injunction obtained by Aero Plastics Industries Limited and Abdoul Majid Sattar Rainbow Plastics.
The court in Blantyre, on July 25, this year (2018) again suspended the ban after Aero Plastics Industries Limited and Abdoul Majid Sattar Rainbow Plastics got an injunction.
A month later, the same court, through Judge Healy Potani, upheld government’s ban on thin plastic paper. The government is tied up to influence the ban on the production, distribution and importation of thin plastics since the matter is still in court under Judge Healy Potani.
According to the Public Relations Officer for the Department of Environmental Affairs, Sangwani Phiri, there is nothing the department can do as the matter is still unresolved and it is yet to be told when the case will be in court. He bemoaned the adjournments of the case hearing.
“The issue started way back in 2015. Since that time, there have been injunctions now and then. It was 0n 15 July, 2018 when Judge Healy Potani ruled in favour of us to implement the ban. But after a month, it was the same judge who granted the current injunction,” he said.
According to Phiri, his ministry told the companies to import new machines to start producing thick plastics that are not a danger to the environment two years back. However, they have been obtaining injunctions from court, restraining any actions from government.
Environmentalist Charles Mkoka declined to comment on the matter on prejudicial basis. But he commented on the negative outcomes of the plastics to the environment and the public domain.
“The major concern about the wide spread of plastics that we continue to face from ecological perspectives is that they are un-biodegradable.
“Although the public endeavour to remove them and channel them into pits and dump sites refuse to decay. The nature of the raw material used although disposed after use continues to exist in our environment for so long. This is becoming a concern because naturally, we expect recycling of matter and energy in things we use as human beings,” Mkoka said.
Mkoka further said plastics release chemicals to the land which are later used by edible plants. He said the chemical negatively affects human bodies after consuming the plants.
This, according to the environmentalist, brings health complications for many Malawians if the country continues to produce thin plastic paper.
Speaking with Malawi News Agency (MANA), owner of one of the companies that sell and distribute thin plastics who did not want to be named, said they sell thin plastic paper because the issue is still in court.
The case has been in court files from June 30, 2015, when government banned the use, sale, production, exportation and importation of plastic bags of less than 60 microns.