Updated 10.10am with PD statement

The public has been urged to wash all fruit and vegetables before consuming, processing or cooking them, following the major blaze which hit a waste facility on Friday. 

The Superintendence of Public Health said on Friday night that it would be taking samples of local crops in the coming days to run tests for residue from the burnt material.

The authority said it was highlighting the issue in view of the possible deposits of burnt material on crops in the affected areas. 

Read: Major fire at Magħtab waste facility casts dark cloud over Malta

A major fire broke out at the Wasteserv plant in Magħtab early on Friday morning, prompting a health hazard alarm. It was the refuse-derived fuel which caught fire - this kind of waste is produced daily from grey and black bags.

The fire was finally being brought under control hours later, but the authorities said it would take days to completely put out the flames.

Meanwhile, large swathes of Malta were put on alert about the possible health impact of the fumes and residents were urged to stay indoors.

For any queries, the Environmental Health Directorate may be contacted on 2133 7333.

Wasteserv said on Saturday that the Magħtab plant was operating normally after the fire was put out. The company thanked its workers for working well with the Civil Protection Department to eliminate the inconvenience in as little time as possible. 

The situation is worrying - PD

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has called for an independent public inquiry to probe the reasons behind why, in a space of 15 months, two fires broke out at Sant’ Antnin Recycling Plant and Magħtab.

It must be established what precautions were taken, whether the response was proportionate, and what remedial action needs to be taken to avoid a repeat of such a scenario, PD said in a statement.

The Environment Minister's call on the Attorney General to launch an inquiry into the blaze falls short of the standards required.

"It shames government and clearly shows disrespect to whoever resides in Malta. The statement of the Environmental and Resource Authority which confirms that toxic and carcinogenic dioxins were released in the air and spread over a large populated area is worrying."