The Lilongwe Wildlife Trust has instituted an online survey to gauge public perception on use and ban of thin plastics as the Supreme Court of Appeal is set to make a determination on April 16.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to implement a national ban on thin plastics after the High Court in Blantyre on October 4 last year overturned an earlier ban following an injunction obtained by 14 companies.
The court battle has been ongoing since 2016 when Aero Plastics Industries Limited, Rainbow Plastics and 12 other companies obtained the injunction against implementation of the ban, arguing it infringed on their business rights.
But in a telephone interview on Sunday, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust campaign coordinator Samantha Nampuntha said it is a major concern that use of thin plastics continues to pollute the environment.
She said information gathered so far from the survey indicates that most respondents support the thin plastics ban.
Said Nampuntha: “It was only started a few days ago and we are still collecting the information but it seems like a good number of people are in support of the thin plastics ban. This information is looking at public opinion on plastics, are they in support of the ban or not? We will await the conclusive results on the survey before April 16 when the determination will be made.”
According to court documents, in the case, judicial cause number 20 of 2016, the State and the Director of Environmental Affairs are the respondents while Aero Plastics Limited along with Abdul Majid Sattar (Rainbow Plastics) and 12 others are the applicants.
The documents state that in the earlier determination that was made, the court looked at the issue of environmental protection against the right to economic activity which was being argued for by both parties.
Last month, Wildlife Environmental Society of Malawi (Wesm) national chairperson Tiwonge Gawa, said environmentalists are hopeful that the battle to ban thin plastics will be won.
He said: “So far, a lot of industries have shown willingness to adopt the glass system. For now, we will let the courts do their job.”
In June 2015, the Department of Environmental Affairs affected a ban on thin plastics of less than 60 microns arguing such plastics pose a threat to the environment due to their delayed rate of decomposition.