Expertise: Environmental activist

Gloria Majiga–Kamoto is a Malawian community development officer and environmental activist, who was awarded the 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa, in recognition of her work in advocating for the enforcement of a national ban on the importation, manufacture and distribution of single-use plastics in Malawi, in 2019. In 2015, Malawi passed a law prohibiting the importation, manufacture and distribution of single-use plastic. However, the law was not being enforced. Attempts by Gloria and her fellow environmentalists to hold civil dialogue with plastics manufactures in Malawi were rebuffed. As of 2016, Malawian plastic manufacturers were producing 75,000 tons of plastic annually. Of this, 80 percent was single-use, which is difficult to recycle. Plastic waste was clogging waterways and when consumed by livestock, was killing some of the animals.

The association of plastic manufacturers sued the government, challenging the ban on single-use plastic. They won in the lower courts but the case was appealed to the country’s Supreme Court. Gloria and her fellow environmentalists organized public demonstrations to highlight the “plastic problem” in the country. A study commissioned by the government of Malawi, documented that the country produces more plastic waste per capita, than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa. Over a five-year period, the court case made it to the Supreme Court of Malawi. In July 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that the manufacture, marketing, sale and use of single-use plastic (60 microns or less) was illegal in Malawi. Since 2019, three factories have been shut down and the fourth had its manufacturing equipment impounded. She currently serves as a Program Manager at Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA), Blantyre, Malawi.

Plastic Health Summit 2021 – Ms. Gloria Majiga-Kamoto

How goats helped a Malawian activist win a ban on single-use plastics