Author Topic: 58% of plastic waste was landfilled in 2019, only 1% recycled  (Read 314 times)

Asif Iqbal

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58% of plastic waste was landfilled in 2019, only 1% recycled
« on: February 02, 2021, 05:29:56 PM »
Malta is lagging behind in attaining national and European Union (EU) waste management targets, including those related to plastic waste. This was revealed in the report Performance Audit: The effectiveness of plastic waste management in Malta (February 2021) published by the National Audit Office (NAO). The document revealed that 58% of plastic waste is ending in the landfill, while only 1% is recycled.

Yesterday, Auditor General, Charles Deguara, presented the audit report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Anglu Farrugia.

The NAO said that the report forms part of a cooperative audit initiative undertaken jointly with another 11 European State Audit Institutions (SAIs) under the auspices of the European Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions Working Group on Environmental Auditing (EUROSAI WGEA).

The report states that the country has inadequate waste separation at source practices result in potentially recyclable waste being landfilled, which is by far the most expensive solution in financial and environmental terms.

The auditor general in his report explained that the incident at Sant’ Antnin Waste Treatment Plant in 2017 meant that WasteServ’s revenues decreased disproportionally. This left the entity in a lingo on how to recover its waste treatment costs said the report.

The NAO said that the health and environmental risks of plastic can only be mitigated through a consorted effort by all stakeholders, including political, administrative, the industry and consumers, as well as an effort to reduce its production at the outset.

Contrary to the polluter pays principle advocated in the waste management regulatory framework, in practice Government is shouldering the lion’s share of waste management related costs declared the audit office.

According to the report WasteServ, in 2019, received a budget of €33 million. The amount includes the financing of compensation agreements between WasteServ and the two local Packaging Waste Recovery Schemes said NAO.

However, the actual plastic packaging waste treatment costs and the cost to derive and export Refuse-Derived Fuel is an extra expense over and above the budget allocated revealed the report.

Packaging Waste Recovery Schemes should be revised to better reflect the cost of treating packaging waste said the report. The revision of such schemes is even more important in view of the establishment of new infrastructure, such as the Beverage Container Refund Scheme (BCRS), recommends the NAO.

Discrepancies were also revealed in landfilling fees. According to the auditor’s office WasteServe, in 2019, was charging €20 per tonne. This cost fell short of the actual costs incurred by WasteServe the report stated. The actual cost for a tonne of waste to landfill was €74 explained NAO.

The Auditor General reiterated that waste generators should bear the cost of waste generation and its treatment. The NAO said that landfill gate fees should be the costliest according to the polluter pays principle.

In its recommendations, the NAO said that National authorities should shorten the lead time for collating and reporting annual waste management data. According to EU obligations Malta should report data within 18 months of being collected. The auditor’s office explained, “The timely availability of waste management data will also enable stakeholders, including national authorities, to adopt a more proactive approach in the waste sector.”

The Auditor General recommends that National authorities should strengthen their coordination and share data to achieve their common goals and purposes. The NAO said that new and revised strategies relating to plastic waste management for the period 2021-2030 should be adopted as soon as possible to avoid hindering their timely implementation.

Government initiatives need to be coupled with the increased adoption of circular economy principles, which in turn will facilitate the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals targets said the NAO.

The report explains that waste separation at source needs to improve to prevent the contamination of recyclable material. NAO said, “National authorities should consider making waste separation at source mandatory, including the complementary economic measures as well as setting up the required monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.”

Ref: https://newsbook.com.mt/en/malta-lagging-behind-on-waste-management-targets-nao/

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