The Malta Independent 11 August 2022, Thursday

Government announces final Single-Use Plastic Strategy and Long-Term Waste Management Plan

Sabrina Zammit Tuesday, 7 December 2021, 16:53 Last update: about 9 months ago

The government has announced the final Single-Use Plastic Strategy and Long-Term Waste Management Plan.

Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said that Malta has reached a better position in the waste management scale amongst European member states, adding that the country has reached a record in terms of recyclables since the initiation of such an infrastructure in 2009. The minister said that the government has spent €500 million on waste to energy plans where by 2024, non-recyclable waste will be turned into a renewable energy source.

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This shall create new economic niches with greener job prospects, he said

The Minister said that Malta was one of the first European countries to implement laws that ban the importation of single-use plastics in 2021, and in 2022 the sale of such products will be banned.

Kevin Mercieca, the ERA Deputy Director, said that the Environment and Resources Authority has worked hard to list all the European directives regarding the banning of single-use plastic. He added that Malta is at the forefront of all member states to implement such directives. He added that the single-use plastic strategy is tailor-made for Malta, as there were extensive studies to discover the types of single-use plastic that are used, which needed to be eliminated. Stakeholders and the public have been consulted in the drafting of this strategy with the final aim being that Malta will start using reusable items instead.

He said that the first set of measures out of the 130 will start now and end in 2025. Amongst these measures, there will be ones that restrict the use of single-use plastic and control voluntary waste. Other measures prohibit the use of confetti and balloons during public events. He also added that in 2022 there is a plan to increase the number of available water fountains, which will provide water fit for drinking. With the new measures, the catering industry will have to provide alternatives for their clients regarding items such as cutlery and plates.

Ruth Debrincat who is the Director for Environment and Climate change said that the single-use plastic strategy, a plan for the next nine years is based on different models which were created on studies gathered from the type and way that Malta uses single-use plastic. She added that in total there were five main areas which Malta needs to achieve in order for its plan to succeed: prevention by incentivising online swap shops and repair and reuse facilities, the collection of waste investing in a regional functional plan to seek the increase in the use of modern cars, waste management by strengthening the extended producer responsibility and encouraging the commercial sector in separating their waste, reinforcement of present laws, and data management which will be used for decision making and to keep surveillance over the correct use of policies. She added that these measures have been categorised into three sections, where every three years a new set of measures will be released, until 2030.

Video Miguela Xuereb / Newsbook

 

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