PN says government not treating waste reduction seriously enough

NSO statistics reveal a 40% decrease in recycled waste, mainly from construction and excavation waste

NSO statictics reveal a 40% decrease in recycled waste
NSO statictics reveal a 40% decrease in recycled waste

The Nationalist Party (PN) has said a sharp decrease in recycled waste was down to the lack of commitment of the Labour government to treat waste reduction as a serious matter.

NSO statistics released this week show that in 2016 waste treatment registered a drop of 10.5% (200,827 tonnes). This occurred due to a decrease of 42.4% (207,470 tonnes) in recycled waste, mainly originating from construction, demolition and excavation waste.

The waste that was collected from bring-in sites continued on the downward trend that has been ongoing since 2014, decreasing by 4.7% (125 tonnes) over 2015. The output of recyclables (paper, metals, plastic, glass) which are exported for recycling increased by 24.3% (2,348 tonnes).

The separate collection of waste fractions from civic sites increased by 2,443 tonnes (8.9 per cent). This was followed by the increase of 2,187 tonnes (14.7 per cent) of waste that was collected by means of the green/grey bag and glass collection from households.

The total amount of solid waste generated in 2016 amounted to just under 2.0 million tonnes, up by 5.7% over the previous year. Hazardous waste increased by 175.9% (87,194 tonnes) over 2015 while non-hazardous waste advanced by 1.1% (20,398 tonnes) over 2015.

The PN said this lack of commitment by the government would result in engineered landfills being filled up prior to their originally stipulated expiry. "This incompetence will be an excuse for the government to install an incinerator at the Ghallis landfill as already promised," MP Jason Azzopardi said.

Azzopardi voiced concern on the government’s lack of commitment towards the standards that have to be reached by 2020. 

These national targets were step up by the European Union (EU) as a strategy towards better waste management across the continent on all national and regional levels. 

Statistics show that the Malta North Mechanical-Biological Treatment plant had an output of 38,324 tonnes, 80.4% of which were landfilled at Ghallis, after it became fully operational in 2016.

The waste disposed at the Ghallis landfill increased marginally by 0.5 per cent.

Landfilled household and similar wastes decreased by 26.7% (47,538 tonnes) while sorting residues increased by 86.0% (33,989 tonnes) primarily as a result of the operations of the Malta North Mechanical-Biological Treatment plant.

Treated waste output from the Sant’Antnin waste treatment plant increased by 27.6% in 2016 (15,216 tonnes).

The main contributors towards this increase were sorting residues going to landfill (6,230 tonnes), sorting residues going to storage (4,649 tonnes) and sludge and liquid waste from waste treatment going to landfill (1,703 tonnes).

The output of waste from private waste management facilities and brokers in 2016 increased by 112.4 % (89,831 tonnes).

The output of hazardous waste advanced by 97,790 tonnes, while the output of non-hazardous waste declined by 7,958 tonnes. This development was mainly the result of the output of discarded vehicles (110,356 tonnes).

Inert waste treatment in 2016 decreased by 19.1% (294,286 tonnes). Major decreases were noted for mineral waste from construction and demolition where the backfilled amount went down by 4.7% (43,283 tonnes) and the recycled amount decreased by 43.0% (210,197 tonnes).