The first tender for a €50m project to replace the Marsa incinerator with a specialised facility in Magħtab will be issued in the coming days, the environment minister said on Tuesday. 

During a visit to the incinerator on Tuesday, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia outlined the government’s vision for “a completely revamped waste management infrastructure” which will include a new thermal treatment facility for the treatment of clinical waste. 

The new facility, Farrugia said, will incorporate the best available technology.

“This will not only guarantee the ideal environmental performance but also the potential of green energy generation through the incineration process. In fact, it will be complementing the waste-to-energy plant and the organic waste plant which will be developed within Ecohive in the coming years. 

Video: Environment Ministry

Ecohive is a massive waste processing project in Magħtab which will incorporate treatment plants for different waste streams. It is expected to cost up to €190 million to build and a further €200 million to operate over two decades.

The proposal was initially met with protests by farmers who stood to lose agricultural land. The government subsequently reduced the amount of land to be taken up by the Ecohive project.

Until the new plant is available, WasteServ will continue to invest in new measures to minimise the inconvenience caused by the Marsa incinerator, Farrugia said.

He said a number of issues have already been addressed, such as the proper storage of bone meal, improvements within the foul water treatment system, and proper labelling of incoming waste.

More improvements are in the pipeline with industrial air deodorizers, improvements in the air scrubbing system, and other improvements that will make a difference to the surrounding areas.    

WasteServ CEO Richard Bilocca said that in addition to the mentioned improvements, a very important element for the incinerator to function properly was the quality of incoming materials mainly when it comes to animal by-products.

WasteServ will be engaging with private slaughterhouses and livestock farms in the coming days. 

Bilocca said that a lot of waste was still largely contaminated by plastics that damage the plant, and dead animals and animal by-products are often delivered in an advanced state of decay, Bilocca said.

“The improvement of the facility requires collective action, and WasteServ is determined to deliver this in the shortest possible timeframes as preparations for the construction of a new state of the art facility are in full swing and being held simultaneously,” he said.

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