The Department of Environmental Affairs on Thursday closed OG Plastics Industry factory in Blantyre for producing thin plastics contrary to the Environmental Management Act of 2015.
The law bans the production, importation and distribution of thin plastics of less than 60 microns due to the danger they pose to the environment.
Speaking in an interview after closing the factory, Department of Environmental Affairs environmental officer Chris Manda said they conducted a routine inspection to check if the company was complying with the law only to find that OG Plastics still had illegal thin plastics.
He said: “Initially, the boss [chief executive officer Kaushal Shah] admitted that they were still producing the thin plastics because they were on demand. He, however, changed tune when police investigators arrived, claiming that it was old stock.”
Manda said the team found that the plastic manufacturer had 210 bales of three categories of plastics with a thickness of less than 60 microns.
OG Plastics head supervisor Gift Supada said they were aware that production of thin plastics was banned in the country but he claimed that the plastic bags that were found in their factory were old stock earmarked for recycling.
“We stopped producing thin plastics last year in January. We still keep it in stock for recycling. In fact, we had a lot of plastics that we have since recycled. Every month we take 10 or 15 bags to the recycle machine,” he said.
But team leader of the routine Department of Environmental Affairs inspection crew Patrick Nyirenda disputed the claims, saying during another inspection two months ago, they did not find any thin plastics in the factory.
The Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the government ban on thin plastics on July 30 2019 after a protracted legal battle waged by 14 local plastic manufacturing companies who argued that the ban infringed on their business rights, among other grounds.