Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Malawian Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (MPCC) today hosted an expert panel discussion calling for a national ban on thin plastics.
Speakers claimed the move would help tackle rising levels of plastic pollution in Malawi and deliver long-term savings to the economy.
The discussion was part of a press briefing organised ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on 16 April that will decide whether to reinstate a national ban on thin plastics. It came days after a survey by Lilongwe Wildlife Trust found that 95% of people believe plastic pollution to be a serious issue in Malawi, and 94% support a national ban.
Hon. Alex Major, co-chair of the MPCC, and MPCC member, Hon. Commodius Nyirenda cited findings from an independent assessment of the state of plastic waste globally and in Malawi.
The report – commissioned by the UN Development Programme, with technical support from Lilongwe Wildlife Trust – presented clear evidence in support of a ban, finding that an estimated 75,000 tonnes of plastic is produced in Malawi each year, of which 80% is single-use plastic that cannot be recycled.
Globally, plastics production has roughly doubled in the past 30 years, with 300 million tonnes of plastic waste produced every year – almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. If current trends continue, the world’s oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
The MPCC spokespeople were joined on the panel by Andrew Spezowka, Portfolio Manager at UNDP for Resilience and Sustainable Growth, Professor Sosten Chiotha, Regional Director of the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Southern and Eastern Africa, and Elaine Hake, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust consultant.
Watch a short film of the press briefing here.