The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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Budget 2018 - Environment: Harsher fines for littering, nationwide separation of waste

Tuesday, 10 October 2017, 09:57 Last update: about 7 years ago

The environment remains a primary challenge and the government says it is convinced that investing in it will also mean bettering the quality of life of every person.

 

Separation of waste

The percentage of people who recycle remains low. As a result of this, if nothing is done, our country will need about 80 acres of land every ten years to discard rubbish. The government will invest in an infrastructural project costing over €150 million to create energy from waste. The government appointed a committee made up of professional international individuals to give their advice regarding the technology best-suited to the project. 

 

Organic waste and monetary refunds for bottles

The former was initiated in the previous legislature within one-third of Maltese localities, where organic waste was collected in white recyclable bags. From next year, this exercise will be practiced all over Malta and Gozo. The government will also begin discussions with the private sector to operate a depositing system on both plastic and glass beverage bottles, where consumers will receive refunds for depositing or returning bottles.

 

The creation of ‘Ambjent Malta’

Preparations are underway to create ‘Ambjent Malta’, with the aim of nourishing the country’s natural environment. The targets of this group will include focusing on implementing the management of the Natura 2000 sites while making the countryside more accessible to citizens. There will also be promotion of green infrastructure within urban areas.

 

Harsher penalties for littering

The government will introduce harsher enforcement and penalties in order to instill more discipline among the Maltese population, in the hope of having a cleaner country.

 

One tree per person born

From next year, the government will be planting a tree in the name of each child born, resulting in approximately 4,000 seeds a year.

 

Energy and water

The government said that it is also currently working on the National Plan for Energy and Climate for 2020–2030, in line with the EU targets for 2030. The government pledged it would commit itself to promoting renewable energy and the use of efficient sources of energy, while also encouraging the conservation of water in the domestic environment, through a number of schemes.  With regard to energy, the government said that it is committed to “strengthening the energy distribution system at an increased rate.”

 

A new distribution centre in Ricasoli

The centre will be commissioned to provide the needed capacity. Other projects will be to improve the high voltage network which fuels the industrial area of Ħal Far, while paving the way for new industrial developments. The project to automate 11KV will also be extended in order to decrease the frequency and length of service interruptions to the consumers.

 

Clearance at power stations

The demolition of the Marsa power station is also underway.  Enemalta has also cleared the Heavy Fuel Oil plants at the Delimara power station.

 

Customer- related services improved

The automated system to manage electricity metres will be improved to simplify readings. In 2018, ARMS Ltd will also work on improving its call centre and the iSmart Utility Portal. ARMS will also increase its presence on the website servizz.gov by operating in other localities. The government will also continue providing free audit services to help families reduce their energy and water consumption.

 

Works on Malta-Italy gas pipeline

Works will continue on implementing the gas pipeline between Malta and Italy, connecting Malta to the Gas Network of the European Union, which will eventually substitute the Floating Storage Unit in Delimara. The plans for 2018 with regard to this are to proceed with environmental and technical studies, including maritime surveys along the route.

 

‘New water’ plants

Works will continue to build three polishing plants after they were commissioned and tested, in order to treat drainage water on a tertiary level, and in order to produce ‘new water’ for agricultural and industrial use. Distribution of this water is going to be extended to more clients. This project will improve water sustainability, and to a great extent reduce groundwater abstraction. In order to assure better use of groundwater, technology will monitor the country’s aquifer systems.

 

Two more communal solar farms

Another two communal solar farms will be commissioned, built on the roofs of unused Water Services Corporation reservoirs. The farms are each expected to guarantee the provision of 1 megawatt of alternative energy annually, for a period of 25 years.

Investment in reverse osmosis plants

The government is also planning on investing in reverse osmosis plants to guarantee the provision of adequate drinking water at times when the demand is high, specifically in the summer season.

 

Desalination plant in Hondoq ir-Rummien

A new desalination plant will be built in Ħondoq ir-Rummien, Gozo, with the capacity to produce about 9,000 cubic metres every day, which would eliminate the dependency on the reverse osmosis in Ċirkewwa and on the underwater pipeline that links the two islands.

 

Rehabilitation of pumping stations

The government is planning to rehabilitate two strategic pumping stations which are found in the Ta’ Kandja and Ta’ Bakkja groundwater galleries.

 

Campaign for water conservation

A national campaign to raise awareness about water conservation will also be launched, addressing and guiding consumers to adopt more efficient practices.

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