[WATCH] Wardens can sift through garbage to establish who owner of illegally dumped waste is

LESA wardens unable to identify persons who leave rubbish out on the wrong day can open bags to identify owners through personal data

Wardens from the Local Enforcement unit are entitled to sift through municipal garbage bags if they are to establish the ownership of rubbish left out in the street on wrong days, a junior minister has said.

The parliamentary secretary for local government Silvio Parnis confirmed that LESA wardens have in some cases gone through individuals’ rubbish bags when put out on the wrong day to establish who the offender was. 

Parnis said that there was indeed a problem with LESA wardens being unable to identify persons who leave rubbish on the wrong days.

“The focus should be on educating persons to make sure that they did not leave rubbish out on the wrong day… over time these incidents will happen far less.”

Asked if it was legal that wardens identify the owners of rubbish bags by sifting through personal data and documents, Parnis replied: “Is it legal for someone to leave rubbish out on the wrong day?”

So far, 9,000 tonnes of waste was illegally dumped in 2019, with government now shifting its focus on hotspots such as tourist areas. “We continue on this journey of awareness, to educate people not to dump waste illegally. However we must also face the reality that certain members of our society are not conforming. We hope our campaign and fines will make people realise they should not be littering.”

Parliamentary secretary Deo Debattisa said that 918 environmental summons had been issued, with the worst-hit communities during summer being St Paul's Bay, Bugibba, and Qawra with 482 environmental summons; Sliema alone was issued with the larger number of environmental summons, and Valletta had 88 environmental summons issued as of July.

“People need to understand that it is not easy, especially when dealing with things such as apartments that are used for tourism, where LESA has to deal with more than just the occupants of the apartment, but also cleaners and landlords,” Parnis said. 

Minister for Justice Owen Bonnici highlighted that more enforcement needed to be put into places, to catch persons who illegally dump waste, to bring Malta up to a better standard, not just for waste disposal but also for waste collection.

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