A press release by the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and climate change published this afternoon, refers to the article published on today’s The Sunday Times of Malta titled ‘Malta’s Waste Management could be out of hand’ and states that this government has always declared that waste management is a challenge of national importance and one that merits prioritisation. Relevant and timely decisions are and will continue being taken, and it was this government which took the necessary, bold and long-awaited decisions in order to steer the sector from spiralling completely out of control.
It was this government, continues the press release, – through the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change – that back in 2018 took the bold decision, and after consulting with an ad hoc committee made up of various stakeholders, directed Wasteserv to start the process in order for Malta to have a waste-to-energy facility of its own to convert non-recyclable waste into energy generation. Waste-to-energy has been on the agenda since 2008, however it was only in 2013 that studies started being concluded for this project to materialise.
It was not until recently that a new dedicated agency was set up for Resource, Recovery and Recycling – an agency managing the framework and setup of a Beverage Container Refund Scheme that will see some 200 million beverage containers made up of plastic, metal and glass being source segregated for better recycling.
The statement adds that this also being part of the important decisions taken in order to curb the use of single use plastics. In fact, the government has already made it public that in 2021, the importation and production of single use plastics will be banned in the context of the single-use strategy prepared by the Environment and Resources Authority and the ministry, for which Malta was one of the first to put pen to paper and publish a draft strategy which is currently being revised to be published soon.
The introduction of the organic bag on a national scale was another important project, seeing over 27,000 tonnes of organic waste which used to be collected in black bags now being separated at the source. This initiative resulted in a reduction of 22.9% of waste in the black bag.
The ministry would also like to categorically deny unfounded statements made by sources stated to originate from ERA, which were quoted saying that Wasteserv “has lack of adequate data collection on what types of refuse and how much of it is being processed”, and on “white goods allegedly being illegally bulldozed and buried at the Magħtab landfill.”
The statement concludes that although the government acknowledges that waste management is a national challenge and the right decisions have to be taken, it is a sector whereby through the policies and implementation measures, being adopted in a more holistic approach, Malta can manage to improve drastically during the upcoming months and years.