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A CAMPAIGN FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIN PLASTIC BAN IN MALAWI
August 18, 2022 @ 8:00 am - 4:30 pm EET
One event on October 8, 2022 at 8:00 am
Go Green Malawi have the interest to campaign for implementation of the thin plastic ban and also Deforestation in Malawi. The campaign targets the office of Director of Environmental Conservation in the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources. Understanding of threats, challenges and problems associated with the use of thin plastic still stands out a big challenge in most Malawian citizens. Educational campaigns will be done in the towns, cities, schools, churches, mosques and villages in order to make people aware of the possible problems associated with continued use of the thin plastics on their lives, economy and of great the environment we are living. An open letter will be produced to alert and remind the government through its structures of its role in effecting the ban.
Malawi is and continues to be non-exceptional to the rapid increase of global plastic consumption. According to UNDP-Environment, an estimated 75,000 tons of plastic is produced in Malawi of which 80% are single use plastics that cannot be recycled. Drawbacks are not spared with the increasing production, use and disposal of thin plastics. The production and disposal of the plastics is responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions and when poorly managed, generates pollution in the natural environments.
Malawi attempted to ban thin plastics in December, 2012, but the ban was suspended a month later by the Plastics Manufacturers association of Malawi (PMAM) where they obtained a court injunction. Then, the Government of Malawi engaged the PMAM regarding the ban as a matter of justification. Amidst growing concerns over plastic pollution, in 2015, the Government of Malawi through the Department of Environmental Affairs introduced a national ban on thin plastics of less than 60 Microns. The department committed to shut down factories producing the thin plastics and also imposing fines on them, and the distributors for selling and distributing the thin plastics. In 2016, the PMAM applied for a High Court stay order restraining the Department from implementing the ban and the associated decision to close and impose fines on them. The order was granted.
The Government of Malawi embarked on legal processes which saw the judicial review proceedings dismissed by the High court in June, 2018 and the government resumed implementation of the ban. However, subsequently, the association appealed the decision of the High court and the matter was reefed to Supreme Court of appeal. In July, 2019 the Supreme Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal of PMAM. The Supreme Court of Appeals also made the production of under 60 Microns in thickness illegal. This marked the end of the legal battle between the department of Environment affairs and The PMAM. It implies that the ban still stood and to date it stands effective.
However, production, distribution, use and disposal of the thin plastics keeps on growing each day passing. This prompted individuals, Non-governmental organizations, to speak out to the government to implement the ban and the manufacturers to stop producing the thin plastics. Lilongwe Wildlife Trust in 2019 engaged the media, and employed advocacy and research in order to voice out awareness of the legislation in the ban. The trust released an independent assessment of plastic pollution in Malawi, held a press briefing and published an open letter with several organizations to voice out awareness of the ban to the masses. On June, 2021 CNN published a news that a 30-year old Malawian Environmental activist, Gloria Majiga – Kamoto spearheaded a campaign that pressured the authorities to implement the ban. The activist in coordination with other individuals marched o courts in the communities asking for their intervention. However, despite, such efforts the implementation of the ban by the government authorities has not effected till to date.
It is against this background that members of Green Faith in Malawi would like to campaign for the implementation of the ban.
Gaps still exist in the ban itself, as well as the subsequent campaigns that makes implementation of the ban almost impossible. PMAM as a business contributes largely to the economy of Malawi through provision of employment to citizens, tax contributions and revenue generation to individuals. As such, immediate shutting down or closure of the companies that produce thin plastics would see the economy of Malawi going down drastically. However, there is a need to provide alternative products that can possibly replace the thin plastics in order to cover up the gap. Individuals, government entities, non-governmental organizations and international bodies with interest should advocate for the adoption of those alternatives to replace the thin plastics.
In addition, the general public of Malawi is used to the thin plastics use to support their day to day lives. As such immediate stoppage of distribution of the thin plastics would mean a compromise to their daily lives. Therefore, implementation of the ban should go along with public awareness campaigns and sensitization on the evils of the continued use of the thin plastics. This may possibly yield a denial spirit in the citizens on the use of the thin plastics hence effective implementation of the ban with public support.
Therefore, Green Faith members in Malawi would like to embark on covering up the gaps in order to yield implementation of the ban. The members will publish suggested possible alternatives to the thin plastics for packaging and other use. Manufacturers may adopt the alternatives and replace them with thin plastics. The government of Malawi, may extend the suggested alternatives in the implementation of the ban.
We will reach out to the masses in towns’ and cities’ market places, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, churches and mosques, so as to educate them on the evil of continued use of the thin plastics. Also the sensitization will lobby for the public voice to persuade the government effect the ban for the better of our environments.
Plastic waste management and innovation technology is the solution to live with the already produced and disposed thin plastics. Therefore, as members of Green Faith we see an entrepreneurial opportunity in the wastes by applying innovation technology to produce living products. Capacity building trainings will be provided to the youths in different parts of the country so as to start investing in the wastes to produce products.
• To campaign for the implementation of the thin plastic ban in Malawi
• To suggest alternatives of thin plastics to the manufacturers
• To educate Malawians on threats and problems of thin plastic use and disposal to their lives, environment and economy
KEY MEASURABLE OUTCOMES
Milestone I: Full implementation of thin plastics ban in Malawi
Milestone II: Adoption of the alternatives in the production and use to replace thin plastics
Milestone III: Denial on use of thin plastics in by Malawians
Milestone IV: Stimulation of campaigns on thin plastic ban implementation in Malawi
1. EDUCATION, ADVOCACY AND TRAININGS
1.1. Capacity building training
The training will target national organizers of the event. The national organizers need an in-depth knowledge of thin plastic waste management and any information around it. This knowledge will help them effectively implement the campaign and the national event. The campaign is a project on its own, as such, the organizers also need to have knowledge and skills of project management.
The training will take place in Lilongwe, which is a central region district and a city of Malawi. The national organizers from the areas as we are scattered will travel to Lilongwe.
The training shall focus on capacity building in the following areas;
Facts about thin plastic ban in Malawi
Negative effects and threats of thin plastic production, use, and disposal to the environment, human life and economy.
Thin plastic waste management technologies and innovation
Project Management and sustainability (Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation)
Thin plastic waste management advocacy processes
The training will be facilitated by experts in the field of environmental conservation with a bias in thin plastic waste management. The training is proposed to be done any day between 15th and 25th August, 2022
1.2. Orientation For Regional Activities
Other members already in the four cities of Malawi will carry on the advocacy to educate the masses on thin plastic waste management. The pre-events will take place in the four cities. The already trained national organizers will act in the facilitation of the orientations.
These orientations will be done in the first week of September, (between 5th and 10th September, 2022).
1.3. Regional Advocacy Campaigns
The advocacy will be done in the four cities of Malawi (i.e. Zomba, Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu). The purpose is to educate the people on thin plastic management and the need to campaign for the implementation of the ban. The campaign targets market places, primary and secondary schools with a means of a mobile public addressing system. The national organizers and the oriented regional organizers will carry on the advocacy to the masses.
These regional activities will prolong in the last week of September (22nd to 27th September, 2022).
1.4. Radio And TV Programs
As a matter of educating and sensitizing the masses in Malawi entirely, special radio and TV programs will be conducted. At least 3 Radio programs and a TV program will be done to sensitize on threats of continued production, use and disposal of thin plastics. In the programs, alternatives to the thin plastics will be suggested.
2. The Main Event
The main event targets the office of the Environmental Conservation in the Ministry of Forest and Natural Resources. Petitions in the form of an open letter will be delivered to the office. We will seek legal intervention in drafting the open letter as a call to the government of Malawi to effect the ban which is in “dormancy” presently. Youth will march a distance of about 5 KM within the city of Lilongwe to the office with placards to deliver the petitions. The placards will contain key information around thin plastic production, abundance, use, and disposal.
3. STRATEGIES FOR MOBILIZATION AND COLLABORATIONS
In order to smoothly implement with impact the project activities in Malawi, there will be a need for possible collaborations with organizations, individuals/Experts and institutions already in environmental conservations. The role of the collaboration partners is to provide capacity through their expertise and experience in implementing the project. The whole concept will be shared with them and seek for their possible input.
2.2. Mobilization (Resource and Participants)
Signed agreements will be made by our team with all experts to provide with capacity building stating their conclusive conditions. Some gaps will be filled by members of the organizing team depending on the capacity in the activity or task. For all the five activities, the following resources will be used.
As a carrier for the campaign information in summary. It will help in brand awareness, to draw attention of the audience, participants and interested individuals in the event. This will be required in all the events.
ii. Public Addressing System
Will be required in all the 5 events (Regional activities and the national event). The PA system will be mobile by the means of a Van.
iii. Golf shirts
The golf shirts will carry information of the campaign and will be used as a uniform for the event and also as a motivation to the participants of the events. At least 60 Golf shirts per event will be required. This will require branding and design, printing and distribution.
iv. First Aid and Security Teams
We will collaborate with health practitioners, security officers in all the areas of event hosting. These will ensure security is strong and also to address possible emergencies in the course of executing the activities.
v. Media Teams
To cover up proceedings of the events in their media outlets for public consumption. At least a TV station, and 3 radio stations will be considered in the whole campaign exercise. With their presence, a lot of people will get the information including the government officials.
3. OTHER LOGISTICS
Other logistics include the following;
DSA for the organizers
4. MONITORING, EVALUATION AND STAKEHOLDER COMMUNICATIONS
Members will seek capacity in monitoring and evaluation of a project. The project will have a full time dedicated project team member leading the M&E activities. This member will lead the detailed design and delivery of M&E as well as supporting the design and implementation of M&E systems within associate projects. This information-centric function will underpin the development of a regional community of practice in the sector.
All proceedings in terms of activities will be shared in the social media platforms while recognizing requirements and standards of green faith in regard. Overall project report including financial expenses will also be shared with all the stakeholders particularly, Green Faith. Overall impact report will be shared having monitored the post event situation in Malawi.