[WATCH] Malta to get waste incinerator at Maghtab by 2023, Jose Herrera says

An incineration plant covering 5,000 square metres is being proposed for Maghtab to handle 40% of waste generated in Malta • Recycling at source will no longer remain optional

Environment Minister Jose Herrera on waste incinerator
Environment Minister Jose Herrera on waste incinerator
Incineration will cater for 40% of waste generated in Malta
Incineration will cater for 40% of waste generated in Malta

With Malta’s landfills fast reaching their capacity, the government is proposing the construction of an incinerator at Maghtab that will handle 114,000 tonnes of waste per annum.

Environment Minister Jose Herrera said the new plant will be built through a public-private partnership and will start operating by 2023.

Herrera said the new plant spread over 5,000 square metres will cost between €120 million and €150 million and would cater for 40% of the waste generated in Malta.

The rest of the waste will have to be recovered and recycled. To this end, Herrera said that recycling at source will no longer remain optional in the coming years.

the time had long come to take some monumental decisions on how to manage waste Jose Herrera

Herrera made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon as he published the conclusions of a report commissioned by the government’s waste-to-energy (WTE) commission.

The plant will generate around 69,000 MWh of energy each year.

Herrera said the plant will use moving grate combustion technology. This means waste will move along on a mobile grate into the combustion chamber and emerge as ash for packaging. He said this was the most common technology used around the world, with around 80% of plants worldwide equipped in this way.

Herrera said "the time had long come to take some monumental decisions on how to manage waste" on Malta. 

“I decided to appoint a committee and invited eNGOs and technical people, although the Opposition chose not to take up a seat on the committee,” he said. 

The government also remained committed to create different waste streams, such as the bottle return scheme, and impose recycling at source, which will no longer remain voluntary for commercial, industrial or domestic waste. 

Environment Minister Jose Herrera and Wasteserv CEO Tonio Montebello
Environment Minister Jose Herrera and Wasteserv CEO Tonio Montebello

“We will also be reforming the Environment and Resources Authority to include an enforcement department which will carry out spot checks, sampling waste at random to ensure adhesion to the new law,” Herrera said. 

Due to Malta’s size, the only isolated sites suitable for such plants would be Natura 2000 sites or virgin countryside, but the minister said he was satisfied that the new plant would adhere to EU regulations on pollutant emissions. 

Wasteserv CEO Tonio Montebello, who chaired the committee, said that two reports had been commissioned by the current administration and they agreed on the technology but differed on the size of the plant recommended. 

The committee had finally accepted the smaller sized plant recommended by Frith Resource Management.

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