Malta missing waste management, EU targets across the board

New data from the National Statistics Office for 2022 shows that not only Malta is failing to reach EU targets on waste management, but the situation is getting worse, instead of better.

While the government, mainly through Wasteserv, is spending tens of millions of euros to try to get the situation under control, the amount of waste generated and thrown into the Maghtab landfill keeps increasing. Data provided by Wasteserv to the NSO shows that in 2022, Malta generated more waste, recycled less, and dumped more into landfills.

In 2021, 83.1% of all waste was disposed of at Maghtab, but in 2022, this increased by more than three percentage points to 86.2%.

In addition, despite public relations drives by Energy Minister Miriam Dalli and Wasteserv CEO Richard Bilocca, the amount of recycled waste has decreased instead of increased.

The NSO found that the amount of municipal waste recycled in 2022 was 39,807 tonnes, a decrease of 2,038 tonnes or 5% compared to 2021.

Furthermore, the government’s strategy to reduce the amount of waste generated is also failing. In 2022, Maltese residents generated 618kg of waste per capita, an increase of 1.5% per person compared to the previous year.

As per EU targets, Malta is expected to recycle 55% of all the waste it produces by 2025, a target likely to be missed as Malta is currently struggling to reach 15%.

While in many EU member states, most municipal waste is recycled, in Malta this is not the case.

To make matters worse, this summer, even due to an unmanaged increase in population, Malta was hit by a waste crisis as waste piled up in populated towns and villages, and collections could not keep up with the rise.

Currently, Wasteserv is awarding a €600 million tender to install an incinerator at Maghtab to deal with the generated waste.

However, the process has been hit by corruption claims, with the award earmarked to a French company and local construction firm, Bonnici Brothers, vehemently contested by two other bidders.

Bonnici Brothers are considered close to Prime Minister Robert Abela and his wife, who were involved in private business with the company’s managing director, Gilbert Bonnici.


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