The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

Ministry confirms Wasteserv to take Maghtab land, entity will give it back in other areas

Friday, 21 February 2020, 14:16 Last update: about 7 months ago

A spokesperson for the Environment Ministry has confirmed with The Malta Independent that a substantial amount of land in Maghtab will be taken up by Wasteserv, but said that the entity will also be giving a large amount of land back to the public in other parts of the island.

PN MP Edwin Vassallo had previously said that Wasteserv issued a notice that the company would take up agricultural land in Maghtab for an extension of the landfill, and that farmers were concerned over this issue.

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The Malta Independent asked the Environment Ministry to confirm whether this is true, and to provide a reason for this move.

"As part of a holistic strategy on waste, and in order for Malta to reach its recycling targets, the country needs more plants to treat different types of waste," a spokesperson for the ministry responded.

"These are plants for the separation of recyclable waste, for the processing of organic waste and the recovery of energy from residual waste.  The plants would include the Waste to Energy Facility, the Hazardous Waste Thermal Treatment Facility, Skip Loading Facility, Composting Facility, and an Organic Processing Plant."

"These plants require a significant amount of land and it makes sense that they are placed close to each other for more logistical efficiency. Further to this, WasteServ will also be giving back a significant amount of land as the Wied Fulija and Qortin landfills will be designed as recreational zones. The plants in Marsascala will be closed, and this zone will be given back to the people in the form of a new park and green lungs that they deserve after all these years."

"PN MP Edwin Vassallo claimed that we will be taking up around 400 tumoli of land because the Government has failed in Waste Management. In reality, WasteServ applied for 268,000 m2 or 247 tumoli. They were directed to take the landfill land in 3 stages and therefore out of 145,000 m2  of landfill, would initially be taking only 48,000m2. Therefore the initial uptake would be of 182,000m2 or 161 tumoli."

"Under the previous administration, the Ghallis landfill would have been consumed by 2013. They then had earmarked a section which is mostly agricultural fields to be used as a landfill which was planned to be exhausted by 2020. Further to this, local plans from 2006 had already marked zones within the Maghtab area for expropriation. The previous administration was also planning a Waste-to-Energy facility in the south of Malta (near the Delimara power station), which would have meant numerous daily trips of Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) from the Maghtab Facility to the Marsaxlokk Waste-to-Energy plant. The previous administration was also not planning on closing down the Sant' Antnin plant."

PN MP Edwin Vassallo, in a statement, said that it is scary situation that a PL minister accepts that there is a plan for fields in Maghtab to be taken to be used as a landfill, and that the farmers be kicked out of their fields. He said that the government has to explain what the plans for the area are. He called this an environmental scandal in the making. “We have a labour government that is abusing farmers and the environmental value of the fields will be lost.”

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