Environment Minister Josè Herrera said that the illegal dumping in Tà Qali is not the Government’s fault, but the blame should be put on the people who produced the waste.
Earlier this month, Newsbook.com.mt exclusively revealed a vast illegal construction waste dumping site in Tà Qali spanning roughly 10,000 sq. m. On the 16th November, journalists from this newsroom were stationed in Tà Qali near the former Southern Concrete Co Ltd factory site where they witnessed a procession of trucks entering the site and dumping construction waste which was then leveled by a bulldozer in the dead of night. Bonnici Brothers Group said that they were ‘unaware’ of the dumping.
Minister Herrera said about the incident, when questioned by Newsbook.com.mt, that the Government has a number of waste management schemed with the underlying fundamental ‘producer-pays principle’. This means that manufacturers should pay for the cost of recycling and disposal of any waste they may produce.
“It at one point in time,” the Minister said, “for whatever reason, the waste isn’t gathered, then it won’t just disappear.” He also went on to explain that it isn’t just an easy process to export construction waste overnight, what with trans-border restrictions and the fact that China is no longer importing. “So it gets stuck! Then you have an overflow of this material.”
Herrera insisted that it was the producers’ fault because it is their job to inspect the waste and see what to do with it. Speaking about Wasteserv Malta as a “last resort operator”, the Minister explained that it was the ERA’s responsibility to be a regulator. “The direction from my Ministry to the ERA is that it needs to regulate and to enforce the contractual obligations of the producers,” concluded the Minister.
Sources had informed Newsbook.com.mt that, following the initial reports, Police inspections stopped the dumping in its tracks, despite silence when questioned. The Planning Authority, meanwhile, proceeded to seal off the premises after it was clear that an Enforcement Notice from earlier this year was entirely ignored.