Government has fined eight shops in Lilongwe K250 000 (about $396) each for selling and distributing plastics not recommended by law in terms of thickness.
This follows an inspection conducted by officials from the Department of Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining last week in the capital city.
In recent months, it has been observed that many shops nationwide are still selling and distributing plastics which are not of the recommended 60 microns, a development which is detrimental to the environment.
Environment and Climate Change Management spokesperson Sangwani Phiri, in an interview on Friday, said most of the shops inspected such as City Supermarket, Game Stores, Airworld, Food Zone, Baby’s Nook and Kids, Peoples Metro and Shoprite Main are selling plastics which are between 35 microns and 55 microns, which clearly show that they fall short of government’s prescribed 60 microns.
“This clearly shows that the manufacturers of plastic carrier bags are not adhering to the prescribed size in terms of microns. This is a complete breach of the Environmental Management Act of 1996, which stipulates that any manufacturer of plastic material should conform to the prescription which was given to them by government through the Plastic Manufacturers Association of Malawi,” he said.
Phiri said they have also observed that buyers of these plastics do not insist on buying only those plastic carriers bags recommended by the law; hence, the proliferation of thin plastics.
“The department has on several occasions warned all plastic material users, distributors, sellers and manufacturers that from June 1 2015, government will start enforcing total ban of thin plastics, in terms of importing, selling, distribution and manufacturing under the new plastics regulation 2015,” he said.
An official at one of the shops in Lilongwe, who asked for anonymity, confirmed that officials from government fined them for selling plastics with microns which are less than 60 microns.
The development comes at a time government has just purchased machines for measuring thickness of plastics.