In a telephone link-up with Television Malta, Minister for the Environment, Aaron Farrugia, said the problem of refuse is an accumulation of factors that have grown over the years.
He said the factors include the small geographical size of the country, economic growth and an increase in tourism and therefore it would be unjust to lay the problem at the door of any particular sector or individuals. However, he said, he has taken stock of the situation and has not held back from taking the necessary decisions.
Dr Farrugia said against this background new appointments have been made on the Wasteserv Board, the agency responsible for the management of refuse. The Board is now under the management of Professor Frank Bezzina who has replaced David Borg.
Following a challenge that was made yesterday by the Opposition Spokesperson for the Environment, Jason Azzopardi, to enable the media to tour Il-Magħtab so that in his belief they see how refuse is being mixed despite that this is being separated in households, Minister Farrugia said he has no problem with the media touring the Wasteserv facility at Magħtab.
He said obviously the media is invited and representatives can contact Wasteserve Management and all arrangements will be made.
Minister Farrugia said the Opposition has long been refusing to participate to tackle the refuse problem and recalled its refusal to participate in a technical committee regarding refuse management.
He said he is once more extending the hand of friendship and intends to meet the Shadow Minister for the Environment to discuss a holistic plan.
Asked what actions he intends taking to address refuse challenges, Minister Farrugia said a holistic plan is being finalised for a ten-year period to 2030.
He said he has given a commitment that this will be finalised by year’s end and he has published a strategic plan for refuse management and consultation on this which will be launched at the end of March.
According to the Budget, among other measures, this year will see the start of the rebate system on drinks bottles that will be returned.