[WATCH] €50 million biological waste treatment plant at Maghtab inaugurated

PM Joseph Muscat inaugurated the project, which he called the 'crown jewel' of the government's environmental project

Prime minister Joseph Muscat, Commissioner Karmenu Vella, minister Leo Brincat and parliamentary secretary Ian Borg are given a tour of the Malta North waste treatment facility. • Photo by Ray Attard
Prime minister Joseph Muscat, Commissioner Karmenu Vella, minister Leo Brincat and parliamentary secretary Ian Borg are given a tour of the Malta North waste treatment facility. • Photo by Ray Attard

Video is unavailable at this time.

The country's largest waste treatment plant was inaugurated at Maghtab today, marking €50 million in investment towards reducing landfill waste.

Describing the facility as the government's “crown jewel” in environmental projects, prime minister Joseph Muscat said that the facility was part of the government's efforts to increase recycling and reduce the volume of waste dumped in landfills. 

“We think of the environment as a vast encompassing subject including waste management and animal rights among others,” he said, adding that the sector deserves ever more attention and awareness.

Muscat said that the government had invested some €80 million in waste management projects, with Malta North representing some €50 million in EU and public funds. 

“It is important to remember that waste cannot just be buried under piles of dirt, but that it should be reused and changed into something new, and this takes a change in mentality,” he said, adding that the government would also be working towards moving away from heavy fuel oil for the generation of electricity. 

The €50 million facility will allow the country to reach its EU waste treatment goals and it will allow the country to treat approximately two thirds of domestic waste while generating some 9.82GwH per annum of electrical energy. The plant will also be generating biogas as a by-product,  and compost as an additional by-product.

Wasteserve CEO Tonio Montebello explained that the facility will receive some 66,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste and 47,000 tonnes of bulky waste every year once it is fully functional.

Wasteserv chairman David Borg said that the restructuring of the organisation had taken over a year and a half, and that the three main projects for the group were the Marsa autoclave, the Gozo waste transfer site and the Malta North facility inaugurated today. 

EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella said that the EU was currently importing six times as much raw material as it was exporting  and that the issue was troubling to the Commission.

“The Commission has just proposed a new economic model to recycle materials into new products,” he said, pointing out the timely nature of the completion of the facility, which sought to be fully functional by the end of the year.

He further explained that in Malta some 550kg of waste were generated per person every year, with only 12% being recycled, while in the EU the average was of 450kg per person every year with 40% of waste being recycled.

He said that the facility would allow the country to reach its goals and to be form part of the international green economy sector and that the EU’s aim was to allow countries like Malta to achieve better results and keep up with the highest technology in the sector.

Vella added that the EU was offering financial and technical assistance and support to small countries to achieve conformity in member states to increase waste collection, separation and recycling.

Calling the project "the greatest project to be completed under the current government," environment minister Leo Brincat said that recycling and waste separation needed to become part of people’s every day lives in order for goals to be reached, and he pledged that the government would continue to invest in waste collection services. 

Earlier this year, Wasteserv inaugurated a €12 million Marsa animal waste treatment plant to reduce the energy necessary for the treatment of animal carcasses