GRTU commends action taken by MEPA but calls for more

GRTU commends MEPA for issued enforcement order but calls on government to set up Monitoring Enforcement Committee to avoid more unauthorised waste sorting plants.

More enforcement orders required as unauthorised plants continue to operate
More enforcement orders required as unauthorised plants continue to operate

The Chamber of SMEs (GRTU) commended the Malta Environment and Planning Authority for issuing an Enforcement Order to the operator of an unpermitted waste sorting depot in Zabbar. 

“MEPA are well aware that there are other waste sorting depots that also need such an enforcement notices.  How can a 40 foot vehicle be transporting baled cardboard from Gozo to Malta in the middle of night when there are no MEPA-authorised facilities of the sort in Gozo?” GRTU asked.

The GRTU said that MEPA is aware that a waste broker permit does not entitle holders to operate a Waste Management Facility and called on the authority to “delve deeper”  into the volumes being deposited at unpermitted facilities as well as who brought recyclable waste material to the facility.

“MEPA should also investigate the waste brokers who bought the material for export from this unpermitted site. Was it the same offender who was responsible for exporting the material? Such operators should not have a vertical permit, that is a permit as a waste carrier, a permit as a Waste Broker and also a permit as a Waste Management Facility,” the GRTU said.

If the offender does have a license and permit to handle waste, GRTU said this permit should be revoked. “In this sector, Malta does not need untrustworthy operators and the message by MEPA should be loud and clear. No permits to offenders in this sector. Payment of penalties is not enough in such instances,” the GRTU said.

Operators who are duly operating in this sector or wish to take up these operations in the future should be “well aware of their destiny” should they decide to operate in a clandestine manner according to the GRTU.

“MEPA knows sufficiently well that many of the problems it has to face are self-inflicted as a result of incompetent enforcement. MEPA’s tolerance standards are far too high for serious environment protection and this is particularly through in waste management,” the Union said.

Malta’s Waste Management Strategy, both policy and implementation, is at its infancy stage and

The GRTU accepts that MEPA should not tolerate “rogue traders” to be a part of these operations while Malta’s Waste Management Strategy is still in its infancy stage.

MEPA should be there to ensure that policy and strategy in relation to environmental issues are adhered to and GRTU will support all MEPA’s efforts in this direction.

“MEPA cannot allow the sprouting up of a black economy in this sector. There are permitted facilities, waste management facilities, which have spent thousands of Euros to ensure that their facilities are operating according to the requirements of their environmental permit,” the GRTU said.

Appreciating the fact that this would not be an easy task, the Union was sure that with commitment, and the continued discussion and dissemination of information with stakeholders who have existing permits, the MEPA Enforcement Directorate can succeed.

“In order to help MEPA achieve this aim, GRTU strongly urges Government to set up the Monitoring Enforcement Committee in relation to Producer Responsibility as stated in its Budget document of 2011. Setting up this Committee is already three years overdue. GRTU hopes this renewed call will now not fall on deaf ears,” the Union concluded.   

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