MEPA orders closure of Aero for defying ban on thin plastics

As the fight against thin plastics still rages on in the country, Malawi Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) has ordered an immediate closure of Aero Plastic Limited for defying ban on thin plastics.

In a closure order signed by MEPA Acting Director General Tawonga Mbale which Nthanda Times has seen, the plastic production company has also been fined a sum of MK5 million.

According to the letter, Aero Plastics which is situated in Chirimba industrial area of Blantyre violated Environmental Management (plastic) Regulations of 2015 which bans plastics with less than 60 micrometers thickness.

“Section 3 of the Environment Management (plastics) Regulations of 2015 states that ‘the importation, manufacture, trade and commercial distribution of plastics, plastic bags and plastic sheets made of plastic film with a wall thickness of less than sixty micrometers is prohibited for use in Malawi’,” reads the closure order.

The closure order also says Aero Plastics Limited also contravened section 116(1) of the Environment Management Act (No. 19 of 2017).

MEPA inspection of Aero on 7 June 2021 found a vehicle loaded with thin plastics for commercial distribution which is contrary to plastic regulation of 2015.

aero plastics
Thin plastics loaded for commercial distribution at Aero

The company has been asked to pay a fine of MK5 million and shut its doors until it complies with the plastic regulations and Act.

“Take further notice that Aero Plastics Limited is closed with immediate effect under section 116 of the Environment Management Act (No. 19 of 2017), until such a time when in the opinion of the Director General, the provisions of the Act and the Environment Management (Plastics) Regulations of 2015 have been complied with,” reads the order letter.

On the possibility of seeking for judicial review, MEPA says the company will remain closed until court proceedings are fully completed.

Government through the then Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining imposed a ban on production, selling and use of thin plastics in 2015. The ban was however lifted by companies that manufacture thin plastics and in 2020, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in favor of government to impose the ban on single use plastics.