Fish stench prompts calls for suspension of tuna processing plant operations

The Għaqda Storja u Kultura Birżebbuġa and Moviment Graffitti are calling for the immediate suspension of operations at a tuna recycling factory in Ħal Far

Tuna carcasses are reprocessed into fish meal at the new recycling plant at Ħal Far, operated by the tuna ranching industry. Graffitti and a Birżebbuġa heritage group claim the factory is creating a bad stench.
Tuna carcasses are reprocessed into fish meal at the new recycling plant at Ħal Far, operated by the tuna ranching industry. Graffitti and a Birżebbuġa heritage group claim the factory is creating a bad stench.

A Birżebbuġa heritage group and Moviment Graffitti call have called for the immediate suspension of operations at the new tuna processing plant in Ħal Far.

In a letter to ministers Miriam Dalli and Silvio Schembri, Għaqda Storja u Kultura Birżebbuġa and Moviment Graffitti, flagged what they described as “the unbearable stench” coming from the tuna processing plant in Ħal Far.

The groups said residents and workers around Birżebbuġa, Bengħisa and Ħal Far are having to live in extremely dire conditions as a result of the stench and sewage leaks coming from the tuna recycling factory.

They added that roads in Birżebbuġa were recently flooded with fish remains, making people’s lives “miserable” because of the ensuing stench.

The tuna recycling factory is owned by Aquaculture Resources Ltd and processes the remains of slaughtered tuna into fishmeal for use in pet food. The new factory is situated in the Ħal Far industrial estate.

“This factory has brought about squalid conditions previously inexistent in the neighbourhood of Birżebbuġa,” the two groups told the ministers.

They also made reference to a meeting that took place between the local council, the Environment and Resources Authority and the Water Services Corporation in a bid to resolve the situation.

The groups appreciated the council’s efforts but insisted the action taken by the authorities is insufficient to curb the problems that residents are facing.

“We are therefore calling for the immediate suspension of operations at the plant and insist it is back in action only when it can eradicate the odour pollution it is currently emitting,” the two organisations insisted, adding the profits of the tuna industry should never come before the health and safety of residents and the environments.

“This simple and logical call for action must be heard and if it falls on deaf ears, the organisations pledge to take all necessary action to ensure that the health and quality of life of the people are given the priority they deserve,” the groups said.

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