A waste-to-energy plant planned for Magħtab should not go ahead until detailed environmental and social impact studies have been carried out, eight NGOs have said.

The proposed plant is one part of a broader waste management reform plan unveiled by the government last month.

In a statement on Saturday, a group of NGOs said that while they were pleased to see work to address Malta’s waste management problem, more detailed information was needed.

Chief among the NGOs’ concerns is that the plant would lead to Malta generating more, rather than less, waste, to feed the plant.

“Incineration and thermal conversion do not qualify as renewable energy and it would be wrong to deceive the public into thinking that it does,” they said. “Although a waste-to-energy system is a decisive improvement over dumping waste in engineered landfills, we must realise that it should not be presented as the only possible solution.”

“Maltese society as a whole needs to understand that we need to make a collective effort to start recycling more and implement practices that will help us minimise waste generation and reach our targets,” the NGOs said.

They noted that a new Waste Management Plan, which the government has pledged to implement, should ensure that all sectors of society “especially hotels and factories”, were part of a broader waste reduction strategy.

The NGOs also said more detail was needed about how the plant’s cooling system would affect Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq and protected species, including Posidonia Meadows seagrass, when water was discharged there.

They also said they remained unconvinced that waste management project at Magħtab would require the 9 hectares of land earmarked for it. The project’s size has already been reduced by almost 70 per cent, following protests by local farmers.

 Replying to the concerns, Wasteserv said that detailed studies concerning air quality and air dispersion modelling were currently underway.

The size of the proposed plant was decided “after extensive studies that take into account past waste trends and more importantly EU waste-related targets,” the government agency said.

NGOs which signed the statement: 

Din l-Art Ħelwa
Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
Friends of the Earth Malta
Isles of the Left
Malta Youth in Agriculture Foundation
Moviment Graffitti
Ramblers Malta
The Archaeological Society Malta

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