Local council cleansing services not keeping up with waste problem

The head of Malta’s cleansing department, Ramon Deguara, told MaltaToday that places like St Paul’s Bay, a touristic village with a large residential population, tends to be one of the more problematic towns for waste collection, cleanliness and upkeep

A butcher in St Paul’s Bay last week told MaltaToday that he had seen piles of uncollected garbage across the street from his business that had been there since the day after the European elections
A butcher in St Paul’s Bay last week told MaltaToday that he had seen piles of uncollected garbage across the street from his business that had been there since the day after the European elections

Cleansing services offered by local councils are not always enough to handle Malta’s burgeoning waste problem inside its more populated villages and towns.

The head of Malta’s cleansing department, Ramon Deguara, told MaltaToday that places like St Paul’s Bay, a touristic village with a large residential population, tends to be one of the more problematic towns for waste collection, cleanliness and upkeep.

“But I disagree that St Julian’s and Sliema are on the same levels of St Paul’s Bay,” Deguara told MaltaToday over complaints from these towns on their waste and cleanliness issues.

“There is a mix of logistical problems with both residential and commercial waste issues. Services provided by the local council are not enough for the locality’s needs and certainly need to be improved. The solution to this problem would be the increase in the frequency of service, in parallel with enforcement procedures – in all localities.”

Deguara, however, said that several options are in the pipeline, apart from the normal yearly additional services offered by the Cleansing and Maintenance Division, “without hindering the function of the local council.”

“I reiterate that the collaboration of the local council and the present contractors is a crucial point in the success of the provision of such services.”

Deguara would not expand on the number of reports received by the mobile cleansing app operated by his department, to receive complaints and photos of areas that need attention from the cleansing department.

“All reports received by the mobile app and email facilities are all acknowledged automatically and all cases are followed with complainants kept constantly informed about their concerns,” he said.

Deguara said reports from localities, however, get forwarded to local councils, which remain responsible for the respective localities’ cleanliness.

“One has to bear in mind that some reports need more time and administrative work in order to be concluded, as some cases involve private property and need approval by third parties. Collaboration and cooperation from the general public is of the utmost importance to avoid shabbiness and eyesores in our localities.”

A butcher in St Paul’s Bay last week told MaltaToday that he had seen piles of uncollected garbage across the street from his business that had been there since the day after the European elections – 25 days of uncollected trash.

“The problem is that the garbage that has been accumulating has not been put in proper black or organic bags. Most of it is in cardboard boxes,” the butcher said.

Rosario Camilleri, who runs Luciano’s Meat Market on Triq L-Iskuna in St Paul’s Bay, said the garbage was attracting scores of rats that can be seen roaming around throughout the day.

“That garbage has been there since the day after the MEP and local council elections. When we called the local council prior to the elections, cleaners came by and they swept the road clean and removed some of the weeds growing out of the pavement. But ever since the new local council was elected, nothing of the sort has happened. It’s as if it doesn’t matter anymore now that they’re elected,” Camilleri said.

When asked whether he tried contacting the local council to alert it of the situation, Camilleri told MaltaToday that the local council simply confirmed that if trash is not taken out in its proper bag, this would remain uncollected.

This caused the butcher and a few neighbours to have an altercation with the garbage collectors.

“We had an argument with the collectors, asking them to collect the garbage anyway but they refused. They should at least collect it for the benefit of tourists who occupy the nearby apartments,” Camilleri said.

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