A WasteServ spokesperson has told The Shift that separated waste received in its facilities was still being treated and not mixed, following public outcry last month when footage emerged of all the separated waste bags being dumped at one go at the Magħtab landfill.
“Separated waste from households received at the facility such as the recyclables is treated and exported. Recyclables in bring-in-sites and civic amenity sites were recycled through brokers for export,” Wasteserv said.
The mixing of waste during waste collection was not within Wasteserv’s remit. “We insist on such incidents being reported to the Environment and Resources Authority” and the local council responsible for waste collection services.
The white organic waste and the black bags are being treated at the Magħtab ‘Environmental Complex’, which has reached its capacity and created a situation where a portion of the black bags collected around the island are now dumped in the landfill.
“Due to capacity limitations, some black bag is being sent directly to landfill, however not all the waste! Wasteserv is still ensuring that the separated waste from household remains separated and treated accordingly.”
Wasteserv said there was “very positive feedback” on the introduction of the organic white bag in October 2018 and that the Sant Antnin Waste Treatment plant was currently closed for “upgrading to treat only the white bag”.
The organic waste and black bag that used to be delivered at Sant Antnin plant was going to the Magħtab ‘Environmental Complex’ and treated, the spokesperson said.
Almost three years ago, a huge fire had broken out at the Sant Antnin treatment plant, which Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia admitted had had “repercussions” on the country’s treatment of waste. In comments to the media, he said they were planning on building another treatment plant that “will soon be up and running”.
That was not the only fire that affected Malta’s treatment plant – a fire had broken out in Magħtab two years ago, creating a huge plume of black toxic smoke.
Just last week, a group of farmers protested and blocked off the roads in Magħtab to protest against government plans to take up 226 tumoli of tilled agricultural land in the area for the extension of the landfill. The area in question is the same size as 35 football fields.