Campaigners are urging the Supreme Court to reinstate a national ban on thin plastics ahead of a long-awaited hearing on the matter on Wednesday 31st July.
The Malawian Parliamentary Conservation Caucus (MPCC), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Lilongwe Wildlife Trust claim that the ban will help tackle rising levels of plastic pollution and deliver long-term savings to the economy.
Hon. Werani Chilenga, MPCC Co-Chair, said, “For decades, spiralling amounts of plastic waste have been choking our lands and waterways, infecting our food chains and crippling our economy. A ban on thin plastics will help put the brakes on this destruction and protect our precious natural resources for generations to come.”
Andrew Spezowka, Portfolio Manager at UNDP for Resilience and Sustainable Growth, said, “This is a real chance for Malawi to join a growing global movement to tackle what is one of the world’s biggest environmental scourges. I urge all those individuals and organisations who remain committed to beating plastic pollution to continue to make their voices heard.”
Yolanda Ng’oma, campaign spokesperson for Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, said, “Public, political and scientific opinion have all been shown to support a crackdown on thin plastics. A ban will help to create a cleaner, safer and more prosperous Malawi for all.”
The Supreme Court hearing comes after MPCC, UNDP and Lilongwe Wildlife Trust published an independent assessment showing that an estimated 75,000 tonnes of plastic is currently produced in Malawi each year, of which 80% is single-use plastic that cannot be recycled. The report highlights the large-scale environmental, social and economic damage wrought by plastic pollution both globally and in Malawi.
Three hundred million tonnes of plastic waste are produced globally every year, almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. Only 9% of the nine billion tonnes of plastics ever produced has been recycled, the rest ending up in landfills, dumps or polluting land, rivers, and oceans. Plastic waste can persist in the environment for centuries and Malawi’s waste management solutions are not equipped to handle current, let alone projected, waste production.
Public opinion favours a crackdown on thin plastics. In April 2019, a survey of over 1,500 people found that 95% of people believed plastic pollution to be a serious issue in Malawi and 94% of people agreed with the ban.
Across the world, a growing number of nations have recognised the urgency and gravity of plastic pollution. As of July 2019, lightweight plastic bans have been introduced in 69 countries across the world.
The ban on thin plastics was first introduced by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining in 2015, prohibiting the manufacture, importation, distribution and use of thin plastics of less than 60 microns. Since then, legal challenges mounted by the plastic industry successfully overturned the ban.
More info on #BeatPlasticPollution
Please visit https://www.lilongwewildlife.org/beatplasticpollution/ for more information on the campaign to #BeatPlasticPollution in Malawi, including:
- A summary of the independent assessment, ‘The Case for Banning Single-Use Plastics in Malawi’
- A short film of a press briefing hosted in April 2019 by MPCC, UNDP and Lilongwe Wildlife Trust
- An open letter to the Government of Malawi in favour of the ban, signed by a group of NGOs, private organisations and public sector groups
- Findings from the public survey in April 2019
- A statement from UNDP, with a quote from UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres
For more information, please contact the Secretariat for the Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus: +265(0)993800289 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus
The Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus is a membership body which aims to ‘provide a non-partisan platform for Malawi’s parliamentarians to engage meaningfully on the value of conversation and natural resource management for the future prosperity of Malawi.’ It was launched under Presidential mandate in 2015 and H.E. President Peter Mutharika currently stands as patron.
Today’s development challenges are complex and each context is different. That’s why UNDP tailors our work to fit the needs of the countries and communities we serve. UNDP’s Strategic Plan (2018-2021) has been designed to be responsive to the wide diversity of the countries we serve. The diversity is reflected in three broad development contexts: eradicating poverty; structural transformations; and building resilience. To respond to these issues and focus resources and expertise to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, UNDP prioritizes six Signature Solutions: Keeping people out of POVERTY; GOVERNANCE for peaceful, just, and inclusive societies; Crisis prevention and increased RESILIENCE; ENVIRONMENT: nature-based solutions for development; Clean, affordable ENERGY; and women’s empowerment and GENDER equality. Each Solution includes a mix of policy advice, technical assistance, finance, and programmes. Each solution has the potential to unlock the path to sustainable development. But no one solution will succeed on its own. We need all of them to achieve the SDGs.
About Lilongwe Wildlife Trust
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT), established in 2009, is a Malawi-based conservation NGO working to protect Malawi’s biodiversity for the benefit of its people and wildlife. In collaboration with local and international partners, LWT responds to urgent conservation challenges as well as drive long-term social and institutional change across a number of areas including illegal wildlife trade, deforestation and plastics pollution. LWT has been appointed by the Government of Malawi to administer a number of national wildlife management, justice, and advocacy initiatives, and they are also a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Malawi representative for the Species Survival Network, and the Secretariat for the Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus. For more information visit www.lilongwewildlife.org.