Residents of Zomba have been urged to take a leading role in caring for the environment by stopping usage of thin plastic carrier bags.
Principal environmental officer in the department of environmental affairs Clement Tikiwa made the call on Tuesday during an awareness campaign.
On June 30 this year, government banned the production, importation, distribution and use of thin plastics.
Tikiwa told the gathering that thin plastics have many disadvantages to both the environment and human health.
“When these thin plastics are set on fire, they produce a carcinogenic (cancer causing) compound which is detrimental to human health. Again, animals die when they eat them together with their food. These items also block the penetration of water into the soil resulting in low moisture for crops,” he said.
One of the retailers wanted to know why government is enforcing the ban on thin plastic carrier bags, instead of dealing first with the manufacturers of the products.
In response, Tikiwa said the ban, which was scheduled for August 2014, was delayed to allow manufacturers, distributors, and retail shops to clear existing stocks of old plastics and allow them to change production technology in line with the prescribed thickness.