Malawians led by civil society organizations (CSOs) on Monday joined the international community in commemorating the World Environment Day set up by United Nations (UN) for the world to observe conservation of the environment on June 5 every year.
This year’s commemoration – which was under the theme: ‘Beat Plastic Pollution-to Protect the Environment and Human Health’ — took place at Kamuzu Upper Stadium where plastic picking exercise commenced before a peaceful march from Chichiri roundabout to the Blantyre High Court where the CSO’s presented a petition demanding for the implementation of the ban over the use of thin plastics in the country.
Signed by over 13 local CSOs to the Chief Justice, the petition reminds that the government, through Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal in 2015, ruled against the use of the plastics but it faced injunction from other concerned citizens.
Speaking after presentation of the petition, Coordination for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (CURE) Board member, Karen Price said — while they joined the world in commemorating the day — they decided to present the petition as a reminder of why it is important to remember the problems that arises due to thin plastics as well as ensuring that as CSOs they are sending message to the judiciary to work together so that they move forward in terms of banning plastics in the country.
“Pollution in general is a global challenge but plastics is a bigger problem because it is one of the products that fail to bi-degrade with the environment and they remain within our landscape for a long period of time — which also bring abnormal climate change such as the recent devastating Cyclone Freddy.
“We know that everyone is entitled to the rights of obtaining an injunction but we believe that the injunction which was put against the banning of plastics was mainly for economic gains on their businesses.
“But we are considering the rights of the environment which needs total care because poor environmental management brings a huge negative impact to the country or globally,” she said.
In his remarks, Registrar of the High Court, Kondwani Banda, who received the petition on behalf of the Chief Justice, thanked the CSOs for a well coordinated movement and well planned event.
He further assured the CSOs that the petition will be delivered and believes that the Chief Justice, who is currently in Netherlands for official duties, will take action as he is one of the ardent fighter of the good environment.
This year’s commemoration, which also brought together different Blantyre-based primary and secondary school Environmental Clubs, the church and traditional leaders was spiced up by Gule Wamkulu dances.