A number of NGOs have welcomed with satisfaction the Government’s plan to invest in new facilities for waste management. Despite this, however, the NGOs are calling for more detailed and technical information to be made public on the new waste-to-energy system which is being proposed.
The group of NGOs said in a joint statement they are concerned that the system which converts waste to energy can lead to excessive generation of waste.
They added that all sectors of society need to conform and commit themselves totally to follow waste separation procedures, particularly hotels and factories. They further stated that for this to be possible, a strong Waste Management Plan is called for.
Although they recognise the waste-to-energy system is a very positive undertaking and much preferable to disposing of waste in engineered landfills, they believe this should not be presented as the only possible solution.
The NGOs also believe more studies should be carried out about the incinerator cooling system, because if this is implemented, warm water will end up in the sea around Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq.
The NGOs add in their statement that the loss of 83 tumoli (nine hectares) of agricultural land is too excessive and not necessary for this type of project. They further state that the EIA needs to evaluate the impact on Maltese agricultural produce, and the increase in dependence on the imported produce.
The NGOs maintain waste management projects should be sustainable, and should not lead to more loss of agricultural land and similar resources.
In a reaction, Wasteserv welcomed the NGOs’ statement on improvement in waste management but also stated detailed studies are still ongoing, including that related to air quality, among others.
Wasteserv added that this plant cannot be considered on its own. The size of the plant was determined after several extensive studies were carried out. Mention was also made of the design of the plant, which was planned for flexible operation, among other factors.
Wasteserv further stated it is committed to implementing the ECOHIVE project so that the country will not continue to dispose of waste in rubbish dumps, thus safeguarding agricultural land.
Wasteserv pointed out that the only land which has been taken over is one-third of the originally intended area, and the organic processing plant is expected to produce quality compost.
All this work is part of the Government’s agricultural agenda, which also includes a new policy for waste management which will be launched in the coming months.
Din l-Art Ħelwa
Extinction Rebellion Malta
Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
Friends of the Earth Malta
Isles of the Left
Malta Youth in Agriculture Foundation
The Archaeological Society Malta
Swieqi Local Council