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Malawi govt. to ban use of plastic bags

BLANTYRE—As one way of protecting the country’s natural environment, government will from April 30, 2013 this year ban the use, production and importation of thin plastic bags.

The ministry of environment and climate change says the move is to reduce and control the negative impacts associated with indiscriminate use and disposal of thin plastics and encourage reuse of alternative environmentally friendly bags.

The ministry observes most people like to burn plastic bags, a development which releases harmful chemicals in the air, thereby contributing to the rising cases of cancer in the country.

“Banning of the production, importation and use of thin plastic, would therefore result in reduction of plastic nuisances at disposal sites as well as in the general surroundings: reduction in blockages and spillages in sewers, storm water drains and pipes which require a lot of money to rectify.

“The ban will also ensure improved environmental quality and human health; and foreign exchange savings realized from avoided imports of raw materials for production of plastics as well as by recycling and reuse of plastic bags,” says the ministry in a statement issued this week.

The plastics to be banned include all jumbos with thickness of less than 60 micron metres like those used in local markets for packing chips, vegetables and dried fish. Those  those above 60 micron metres, like the ones provided in supermarkets, will be allowed in the country.

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