MEPA doublespeak – landfill site selection process should be widened

MEPA doublespeak – landfill site selection process should be widened

During a recent meeting held between officials of the ‘Malta Environment and Planning Authority’ and ‘Friends of the Earth (Malta)’ MEPA officials confirmed that it had received an application from government to develop an engineered landfill at either of two designated sites, at Tal-Harrub, Benghisa or Il-Ghallis ta’ Gewwa.

Friends of the Earth representatives were given the reassurance that the Environmental Impact Assessment for this development would also consider other sites.

That impression has now been severely tainted by what appears on the MEPA’s own website about the government’s Project Description Statement for a new landfill(s): “The conclusion of the report, reached jointly between the Works Division and the Planning Directorate, recommends that the only sites that can accommodate such a project and provide a 20-year life span for a landfill are the two sites at l-Ghallis and Tal-Harrub.”

FoE Malta insists that civil society should be involved in the process of site selection and the EIA to determine the best site should consider all possibilities. If this is not done, lingering doubts will always remain with the public as to whether the best site was chosen.

One of the main reasons for the choice of the Benghisa and Ghallis sites is their large size, but FoE Malta has shown that the figures used in the calculations of waste arisings were overstated. Furthermore, the waste estimations ignored other planned waste management facilities such as the upgrading of the composting plant and a Materials Recovery Facility, both of which would significantly reduce the amount of waste to be landfilled.

Friends of the Earth insists that other (smaller) sites are suitable for a landfill and should be given due consideration.