Production, importation, distribution and use of thin plastics is now illegal in Malawi unless exempted, government has said.
The ban which prohibits, among others, plastic carrier bags, alcohol sachets and plastic papers used in secondary packaging or wrapping with a wall thickness of less than 60 microns, follows an announcement by government in 2013 about its intention to conduct the ban.
In a public notice issued on Saturday, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has asked for importers, distributors, retailers and the public’s compliance with the ban, warning that non-compliance is an offence punishable by law.
“Industries which use plastics in primary and secondary packaging are required to use alternative environmental-friendly materials. Likewise, the general public is advised to use alternative environmental-friendly carrier materials such as cloth bags, paper bags and sisal bags that can be reused and are biodegradable.
“Producers of alternative environmental-friendly packaging materials and carrier bags are encouraged to produce such materials in sufficient quantities,” reads the notice.
Following the announcement, the ministry said it will from August 18 undertake enforcement activities which include inspection of plastic manufacturing companies, retail shops and distribution shops to check their compliance with the ban.
However, the ban does not currently apply to plastics for packaging fresh meat products, dairy products, seeds, medicinal products, confectionary products and liquid or frozen products.