State-of-the-art waste management facilities will drive the country towards a circular economy, with all waste streams being reutilised to their full potential, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia said.
The largest ever investment in the waste management sector will take Malta to a new level, not only in waste management, but also in the country’s overall environmental performance and recycling targets.
The investment includes pillars in waste management such as the much-needed waste-to-energy plant which will in itself significantly limit our landfilling volumes, a new plant for the management of dry recyclables, a plant to treat organic waste to extract energy and produce compost for use in agriculture, as well as the replacement of the clinical and abattoir waste incinerator.
“Malta will finally be in a position to stop its predominant reliance on landfilling and to aggressively turn waste into precious resources, be it energy, fertile agricultural resources, or upcycled products,” Minister Farrugia said.
The required land for the infrastructure of this project was drastically reduced, having taken into consideration the valid pleas from local farming communities. In fact, the project will now have a footprint of 82,000m2 as opposed to the original proposal of 279,000m2. The original plan to turn 150,000m2 of land in an extended landfill has been shelved. Instead, Wasteserv is aiming to have the waste to energy plant in place ahead of what was originally planned and current landfill sites within the existing footprint will be used to their full potential.
The facilities will be situated at Magħtab in a bid to centralise Wasteserv’s operations, thereby increasing efficiency and minimising any adverse environmental impacts of said operations. Areas previously used by Wasteserv, including Wied Fulija in Zurrieq, Qortin in Gozo and Sant’ Antnin in Marsascala, which add up to 170,000m2 will be given back to the people in the form of green areas.
Wasteserv Malta has now been mandated to conduct all the required works including studies to implement this ambitious vision. Specifically, on the crucial waste-to-energy plant, detailed environmental studies are already underway and the procurement process has also been launched in the EU official journal.
CEO Richard Bilocca explained that it is now Wasteserv’s job to match the environmental ambition of Malta’s society and to implement this ambitious project in the shortest possible timeframes and at the highest possible standards, to ensure that Malta begins benefiting from the associated environmental benefits.
The Minister said that the project is a crucial link in the comprehensive work being undertaken by the Ministry, which includes a host of actions both of an infrastructural, political and educational nature that will bring about the required leap. It will complement the Government’s long-term waste strategy which will be finalised by the end of this year and plan for a shift in mentality towards reducing, reusing, and recycling.