MALAWI – Mount Meru Millers, one of the largest edible oil manufacturing companies in Malawi, has been ordered by authorities in Malawi to stop operations until it rectifies its non-compliance with environmental regulations.

Mount Meru Millers is a major player in edible oil manufacturing that deals in Sunflower, Soya, Palm, Cotton, and Groundnut seeds.

According to Malawi Nyasa Times, the decision by the Malawi Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) was in a wake of an inspection that the National Water Resource Authority (NWRA) conducted at the facility to establish the alleged discharge claims.

The inspection was prompted by communities around the factory after they pleaded with the authorities to quickly intervene and address the pollution scandal which was posing serious environmental and health risks.

Michael Makonombera, MEPA’s Deputy Director General said they inspected the company on 17th January, and issued an order including a fine of 5 million kwacha (US$250,000) on 23rd January.

However, Makonombera was dismayed that to date the company had not paid the fine and most of the noncompliance issues were not resolved.

 “In addition to the K5 million fine, the company will be charged K100,000 (US$5,000) daily effective today until all issues are resolved. This is because they did not comply with the first order,” Makonombera stated

The facility had earlier faced charges from the National Water Resource Authority (NWRA), who slapped it with K4 million (US$200,0000 for discharging untreated wastewater into public water.

According to a statement signed by NWRA Public Relations Officer, Masozi Kasambara, the company contravened Section 88(1) of the Water Resources Act (2013) by allowing untreated wastewater to discharge from the factory to the environment

The facility was also found that it did not have any effluent discharge permit under the National Water Resources Authority contrary to section 92 of the Water Resources Act, said an earlier report.

MEPA has since advised well-meaning Malawians to always inform them of any issues requiring their attention through their toll-free line number 5153.

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