eNGOs present national solutions to reduce environmental problems

A coalition of local environmental NGOs have come up with a number of national solutions to tackle illegal landfills in Malta.

The coalition is formed by Din l-Art Ħelwa Mellieħa, 7R, Nadur Nadif, Birżebbuġa Clean-up Group, No to Plastic Malta, Green Hats, Raniero’s Adventures, Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq Clean-up Group and Green Waves.

Throughout the document, NGOs have highlighted a number of issues in Malta in three contexts; rural, urban and marine.

For all the problems that have been highlighted, thoughtful solutions have been provided, as a way to move forward towards a respected natural environment.

In addition to raising awareness of these issues, the coalition is also pushing for the reassessment of Malta’s environmental policies, as well as the implementation of new ones.

Here are some of the proposed solutions:

Environmental offenses

1. Have a centralized system served by a single line of contact (one stop shop) that encompasses all agencies and answers all questions. This could emulate the 112 emergency telephone line currently in place in Malta, which provides simultaneous access to all emergency services.

2. Continue to invest in a strong environmental policing force.

3. Create an environmental court, which would give more weight to decisions against environmental crimes than the court, which is currently in charge of environmental crimes.

4. Further improve the ‘Clean and Upkeep’ application by creating a link between the CMD and the Malta Police Force – EPU in investigating and fining the perpetrator responsible for environmental damage.

5. Launch an educational program on how to report environmental crimes.

Rural waste management

1. Set up a flexible schedule for emptying bins, with a schedule that respects the area in question, and that changes according to any planned mass event.

2. Ban the burning of waste on agricultural land as a form of waste management. It is suggested that the perpetrators be fined for the wider environmental damage caused.

Urban waste management

1. Update the law on condominiums with the aim of creating a system for better waste management in apartment buildings, which falls under this law.

2. To encourage a system of “best practices”, especially in practices regarding waste minimization and waste recycling in localities, it is suggested that authorities positively reinforce the desired behavior.

3. To further increase awareness, the Ministry of Environment could implement a strong nationwide publicity campaign to highlight environmental degradation.

Unnecessary waste

1. To limit unnecessary waste, such as plastic and/or laminated confetti, it is suggested that these items either be prohibited or those used must be made from recycled/organic materials.

2. To reduce spam, local councils should distribute a ‘No Spam’ label in their annual newsletter or be able to distribute these labels from their office.

3. To further reduce environmental damage, laminated/glossy print advertisements should be banned and a print or online alternative should be found.

4. Encourage reusable water bottles by introducing water refill stations, thereby encouraging the reduction of single-use plastic waste.

Marine litter management

1. To reduce the level of polystyrene pollution, polystyrene foam crates should be banned and replaced with cork/wooden crates.

2. To stop unnecessary marine litter, tires and plastic bottles/containers should be banned from use as fenders and buoys respectively.

3. To limit the problem of ghost nets, all nets should be chipped, and each missing net should be reported to authorities and collected.

Coastal waste management

1. Ensure that more cigarette bins are installed, especially on beaches and in any other tourist areas, and enforce these practices.

2. Ensure that paper/reusable cups are used in all events held near the coast (≈30m).

3. Encourage food outlets very close to the coast to switch to reusable utensils, containers and packaging, as well as reusable or paper cups, and thus lead to the creation of the “plastic-free beach”.

The coalition aims to support the implementation of these proposals at the national level, by first organizing meetings with the competent authorities.

The end goal of these efforts is to seek solutions for the reduction of waste that accumulates in the Maltese countryside, the marine environment as well as in urban infrastructure.

For more information, please contact the coalition by contacting a coalition group member or emailing [email protected]

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) isn’t busy writing about environmental injustice, she’s likely fighting for women’s rights. Follow her @saaxhaa on Instagram and send her all things environment, art and women’s rights to [email protected]

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