The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

Enough of greenwashing

Camilla Appelgren Tuesday, 13 November 2018, 09:08 Last update: about 7 months ago

In the last couple of weeks there has been an endless amount of posts on social media highlighting the fact that we have a growing garbage issue in Malta. I have always encouraged what others might call moaning because I believe that a society without people pointing out the things that aren’t working well actually is a very dysfunctional society.

Another vital thing other than listening to the constructive feedback is to communicate the changes that followed to the people. If not all people, then at least the ones that highlighted the issues, to empower them. At the moment I find that many times very valid points are being looked down at as moaning and not for the very valuable feedback they indeed are.


Then once opinions actually are taken on board, there is an issue with clear and consistent communication resulting in a decreased chance to succeed. A person, company or country that wants to strive forward has to acknowledge these very basic facts. A functioning society is all about cooperation in the form of constructive feedback, fairness, communication and empowerment of the individual.

All people working in higher positions of our country should remind themselves that they indeed are public servants, elected by the people and even more so trusted by them. It is not the other way around, you know.

So, back to the garbage issue. I do think it’s safe to say that the ones working in this specific industry possibly couldn’t have avoided seeing the posts on social media highlighting the massive garbage issue. One would now think that with the outcry an immediate action would be taken, but I was sad to see that this was not the response.
The response was instead that everyone started pointing fingers on each other; the councils, the contractors and the management on the collection sites. We are still waiting for one person in charge to stand up and say that they will take the lead and organise a meeting to set the priorities straight and solve this mess.

I am normally up for the fact that people need to do their part and still want to push for the importance of empowering people to take action. However, we are now reaching the state where the people have done their part and the management has to take over. The ones that always have recycled adapted to another category, the organic one. The issue is “the others”, the ones that not even before recycled or put their trash out on the correct time. What was done to solve that situation before the new scheme started? Not much.

The lack of enforcement is severe, not only in waste management sector, and it starts to become a very urgent issue. To explain it in easy wording, we are not cleaning up our backyard before we get the nice spring furniture in place. The garden still looks nice on the paper when you put all inventory after each other on a list, but it’s a mess when you see the final product in reality.

The government of Malta were in such a hurry to put the furniture in place and though they would cover the mess, but I’m afraid that the mess is simply too big. It actually reminds me of when my children sometimes hide things under their bed and claims to have cleaned the room. Then they stand there smiling and I see the items sticking out from underneath the bed. One would think that adults would deal with it in another way, right? Showing the nice things won’t make the bad go away.

Yes, we have recycling enabled for several categories. Yes, we have bring-in-sites. Yes, we have Civic Amenity Sites. Last but not least, yes our government are working on getting an incinerator to “solve” our whole issue. Greenwashing at its best is what it is, as long as no one looks closer it will actually look very good.

To the leaders of this country, I have one question - Have you been out on the roads lately in the localities? When was the last time you scrolled through the environment forums on social media?

It’s time to stop implementing new features just for the sake of it, and instead solve the core issues of our country’s waste issue. We need to identify the weaknesses and core issues and then we need an action plan to solve them. We can’t keep on hiding the dirty laundry under the bed, it will soon overflow!

The state of our environment is an eyesore and we need to the ones in charge to walk it, live it and not just talk about it.


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