Plastics in Malawi

Plastics in Malawi

Only a generation ago the developed world introduced plastics to Africans as a practical and low cost way to deal with many household and commercial needs. There was, of course, a strong commercial motive behind it. Western companies knew very well that they would earn big money if also Africans would adopt plastic bags whole-heartedly. Their strategy was successful. Wherever you go today, you see plastics.

In 2018, the Lilongwe Wild Life Trust found out in its study that thin plastics make up of 8.5 percent of waste generated in the country. Malawi is producing more waste than other Sub-Saran countries. That’s a serious issue, for plastics are hazardous to health.

Gertrude Gugu Mlanga, artist and founder of Trashion, once said: “I think in Malawi, we have a tendency of throwing plastics anywhere.”

Unfortunately she is right. It’s not hard to understand why people act like this. Malawi simply lacks a good infrastructure for waste management. Moreover, most people hardly realize that waste left lying around threatens people’s health, the fields, the crops, the soil, the Lake, the rivers, and the animals seriously.

But ignorance wont help us: whether we are aware of it or not, waste that is not properly disposed of will definitely harm the environment and human health and spoil the beauty of Malawi.

However, as soon as we get aware of the problems, we can do something. Small steps taken by many will have big impact. Just take a look at the page on which we explain what everyone can do to sustain the beauty of Malawi, and therefore our health and environment.

In 2012 the Malawian government took the decision to ban thin plastic bags. A courageous step that bears witness to vision. Unfortunately it took some seven years before the ban could be implemented fully. On the page Thin plastic now banned we describe briefly what happened all those years. This story is instructive: it is important for the government to take measures, but we must not wait for the government to succeed. We must all care for God’s creation, do what we can and take concrete steps. Worshipping the Lord takes place in everyday life.