A staggering 600 kilograms of waste was generated by every person in Malta in 2014, a report by the European Environment Agency published recently shows.
Of 35 European countries, Malta generated the sixth-largest amount of municipal waste per capita, the EEA reported. Between 2001 and 2008, there was an increase in the amount of waste generated, with a peak in 2008.
The amount of waste generated declined between 2008 and 2013, only to spike again in 2014. The EEA also points out that Malta is one of the countries which still has “high landfill rates”.
“The share of municipal solid waste sent to landfill in 2014 was 80 per cent of the total generated.
“A modest development in recycling has been observed, but very low rates still pertain, while there is almost no incineration of municipal solid waste,” the agency said.
On recycling, the report shows that while before 2004 material recycling was “very low”, it grew steadily until 2012, when it reached 12 per cent. By 2014, this figure dropped to 7.4 per cent, while only 3.5 per cent of organic waste was recycled.
“Overall, there is considerable room for improvement in both material and organic recycling,” the EEA said in the report.
According to the agency, Malta can ask for a special derogation period under which it may attempt to “intensify its efforts for increased recycling”.
On greenhouse emissions from landfills as a result of the breakdown of organic waste, the environment agency predicted that though they had increased between 2011 and 2015, a decrease was expected between this year and 2020.
Overall, the EEA reported that throughout the 35 countries, there had been a decline of seven per cent in the amount of waste generated per person between 2004 and 2014.
However, it also stated that there was no “uniform trend” across the countries, with an increase in this amount recorded in 16 of the 35.
Denmark and Switzerland generated the largest amounts of waste, the report shows, while the lowest amounts were generated in Romania, Poland and Serbia.
While wealthier countries tended to generate more waste, the agency said, in Malta and Cyprus, greater amounts were generated as a result of the high influx of tourists.