The Malta Independent 17 December 2018, Monday

TMID Editorial: Intelligent people, not only bins

Friday, 23 November 2018, 12:45 Last update: about 23 days ago

Last Wednesday it was announced that 800 Intelligent Bins, to be known as iBiNs, will be replacing existing skips with the aim of solving the perennial problem of overflowing containers. For now, 41 localities will be taking up this new waste disposal service, with a view of extending it to the whole country in the months to come.

The aim is to make recycling simpler and more convenient. The iBiNs, an initiative of Greenpak and Vodafone that will be partly paid for through the European Regional Development Fund, will hopefully serve as a technological solution to the growing waste problem, acknowledged by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat himself as being partly a result of a growing economy and higher consumerism.

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The bins are equipped with signals which send information to a centralised office. Once the bins are full, the data centre will be informed via the signal and the necessary action will be taken for the bin to be emptied. The signal is also available to the public via an app, and it will provide information to people wanting to dump their waste of the closest bin available.

Anything that will help make Malta cleaner is always welcome. We have repeatedly said that the Maltese tend to take extreme care of their property, but then disregard their duties in public places. Overflowing bins are only one example of how dirty the Maltese, as a nation, are. That somebody is doing something about it is a step in the right direction.

But, as is always the case in these situations, for ideas to succeed it is the people who need to implement them, in this case by being more disciplined. It is not enough to have intelligent bins; for the system to work we also need intelligent people.

One flaw in the system could be that not all people are technologically equipped to be informed via their mobile phone that bins are full. Having said this, one does not need to have the IQ of Albert Einstein to realise that a bin is full, and that one needs to find an alternative bin where to dump one’s waste.

Some people will probably still take the easy way out, and leave their unwanted material on the side of the road rather than take it to the next bin or back home to wait for the bin the be emptied. Cameras focusing on the bring-in sites would go a long way to help curb abuse.

But, aside from this, we all need to understand that it is wrong to dump unwanted material where it should not be dumped, whether the bin is “telling” us that it is full or not. It must become part of culture to take better care of public places and become more aware of what needs to be done to safeguard the environment.

Today, with these bins, Civic Amenity Sites, the bulky refuse service and the newly-introduced waste separation at source system everything is in place for us to be more respectful to the environment.

All we need is a little bit more intelligence.

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