The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

Waste-to-energy plants are the 'ideal solution for our environment' - Minister Farrugia

Thursday, 29 July 2021, 08:52 Last update: about 3 months ago

During a visit to the Spittelau waste-to-energy plant, located in the centre of Vienna, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia discussed the advantages related to this high-level environmental system for waste management. 

Minister Farrugia was accompanied by the Austrian Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy and Mobility Leonore Gewessler who explained that this plant is one of the best environmental solutions for Vienna, which the public holds in high regard and that attracts thousands of visitors per year. 

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The Spittelau incinerator is located at the centre of the city, a few steps from where thousands of families work and live, and close to the University of Vienna. 

The Minister also observed how the plant functions in practice, and heard about the numerous advantages of this technology, as its management does not create any operational issues, much less environmental ones. In fact, it provides resources. The plant is currently being extended with a system that will turn heat into fresh air to be used to cool buildings. This system is already being used in the Vienna hospital and a number of residences. 

In discussion on Malta’s half a billion euro investment in waste management infrastructure, the Austrian delegation praised the initiative of the ECOHIVE project which is currently being implemented in our country. “While the waste-to-energy plant in Malta will be based on the same concept as the one in Vienna, it will be benefiting from the best technology currently on the market, which has made major advances in the past few years. Therefore Malta will no longer rely on the previous policy of landfilling. Through the ECOHIVE complex, we will have the best possible set-up to turn waste into resources,” Minister Farrugia said. 

Minister Farrugia said that the waste-to-energy plant in Malta will be producing around 5% of our country’s electricity, while continuing to reduce our dependence on landfilling. This plant will also be providing two operative lines for 96 tonnes each. 

Minister Farrugia reiterated that the ECOHIVE project will push our country to improve performance in waste management and make us leaders in the sector. “Such a project could serve as an example of good practice for other countries in waste management infrastructure, the environment, and economic sustainability,” Minister Farrugia said. 

The Minister also explained that in recent months, Malta has continued to register great improvements in this area as every day around 37 tonnes of recyclable waste is being reintroduced into the economy. When it comes to the recycling of plastic, by the end of May this year we had already collected twice as much as the previous annual quota.

During a bilateral meeting with Minister Gewessler, Minister Farrugia also said that Malta will continue to reduce emissions from our waste sector, addressing our actions towards waste prevention, incentivizing the re-use and repair of products, but also addressing our sorting capacities through new waste facilities. In fact, Malta is enacting various measures to combat climate change through the Low Carbon Development Strategy which will effectively shape the long-term patterns for carbon neutral economy towards 2050 and contribute to our collective efforts on emission reduction at EU and international level.

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