Environment Minister Jose’ Herrera announced on the TV programme Dissett that legislation is being drawn up to make it obligatory for the public to separate waste. Minister Herrera admitted that the country could end up being fined if it does not achieve waste recycling targets. Dr Herrera said Government would not introduce tariffs for waste collection, but will increase both penalties and enforcement. The Minister also announced that in the coming days he would be publishing a report regarding a new plant which has to be built for Malta to have an incinerator, which he added has to be near the sea.
The new waste separation legislation is to be known as the Circle Economy Act. Minister Herrera’ said the document would be taken to Cabinet in the coming weeks, eventually making recycling and separation of waste at source an obligatory procedure.
Emphasising that Government would not be introducing waste collection tariffs, Minister Herrera said he would be setting up a directorate to enforce the laws, and there would be an increase in fines, particularly for illegal disposal of waste.
Strict penalties amounting to thousands of euro will be introduced, and the Magistrature will be empowered to enforce daily fines as well as to impound the equipment used. The penalties will be very adequate.
Minister Herrera stated that by September collection of organic waste will be carried out in all localities in Malta and Gozo. Referring to the incinerator project, Dr Herrera said the report drawn up by a group of technical experts, including environmental organisations, will be published shortly. Dr Herrera added that the experts had agreed with advice given to Government regarding the need for this plant, at a cost of some 120 million euro, to burn off 40% of generated waste. The Minister would not commit himself to the siting of the plant, but indicated it has to be close to the sea.
“I will forward the recommendations I have in hand to the ERA and Planning, which will carry out evaluations, check impacts and decide on a location with the least possible environmental impact. It has to be close to the coast as it needs a cooling system, and non-proximity to the coast would make it expensive.”
Asked whether this would be close to Maghtab, Minister Hderrera replied: “I am not saying Maghtab, no. I have to add that this system is equipped with fumes capping technology, meaning it will be reduing environmental emissions rather than increasing them.”
It also emerged that Wasteserv will have to issue a tender for exporting the many tons of electronic waste presently stored at bulky waste centres, after the two companies charged with collecting this waste had failed to do so. It was also stated that discussions are being held regarding existing difficulties between Wasteserv and the two companies, with Minister Herrera admitting he was not happy with the manner in which the schemes were working.