A man who added his trash bag to those of his neighbours’, unknowingly leaving it on the pavement outside of collection hours, has been slapped with €650 in fines. 

Ivan Malekin woke up on Thursday at 9am, believing he had missed garbage collection by two hours.

However, upon seeing piles of trash bags outside his neighbours’ doors, he realised that the garbage truck had not yet passed through his road. 

But as soon as he dropped his trash bag outside the Valletta AirBnB where he has been staying for the past two weeks, two plainclothes officers pulled up in a hire car, flashing their LESA identification cards, he recounted.

They informed him that garbage is collected at 3pm and asked him for his ID.

'I thought I was being scammed'

“I initially refused to hand over my ID to the officers and closed the door on them. I thought I was being scammed,” he told Times of Malta.

“They were in plain clothes, and they were driving a hire car. Despite showing IDs from LESA, I was suspicious, as I had read about people being scammed by crooks pretending to be officials to get information out of victims.

"So, I didn't believe they were who they said they were, especially because as far as I knew, all I was doing was putting the garbage out, so why would they be targeting me,” he asked.

Soon after the police turned up, asking him to show the LESA officers his ID.

He was fined €150 for putting out the garbage at the wrong time and an additional €500 for hindering them from handing out the fine.

Malekin said his landlord could not find any updated collection times on the Valletta council website, and no flyers indicating a change in time had been received.

It was only when he managed to get through to the council that he learnt that collection time was indeed 3pm.

A quick search by Times of Malta also did not turn up any such results.

The Environment and Resources Authority warns on its website that enforcement officers regularly monitor the streets to fine people breaking Abandonment, Dumping and Disposal of Waste in Streets and Public Places or Areas regulations and fine them “not less than €150".

Malekin, who will be appealing the fines, is not the only one to be penalised for taking out the trash at the wrong time.

Inconvenient collection times

A social media user reacting to his post on the Facebook group Expats Malta said her partner was also fined €150, noting that due to work commitments he can only take out the trash after dinner on the eve of collection day.

Several questioned how people are able to take out the trash mid-day when they are meant to be at work.

However, some social media users noted that if everyone abided by collection times, life would be much easier for those pushing strollers along pavements, or the elderly, who often have to share the road with cars to go around rubbish bags.

One man who just moved to Malta suggested the placing of bins in which people could dump their bags, rather than leaving them on their doorstep, while a woman suggested creating common spaces for rubbish.

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