A snapshot of waste management in Malta

The topic of waste is not much loved. In the early 2000s the problem became clear in Malta when the term ‘mini Magħtab’ was local slang for any pile of rubbish. At the same time the authorities realised Magħtab could not grow any higher. Malta’s ‘mountain’ had literally reached its peak.

The hype, backed by extensive EU legislation, led to the decommissioning of the Magħtab landrise in 2004, together with the erection of an entrance gate, the establishment of a disposal fee, and a statistical database that tracked waste production. We also saw various facilities introduced, including civic amenity and bring-in sites.

Man-made waste generation has exploded in the last 30 years, having an unprecedented impact. A major problem is one-way products like milk and fruit juice in Tetra-Pak bottles, disposable shaving blades, and countless other non-durable items that, years after they are disposed of, can still be found in our landfills. For Malta, this presents a challenge with no straightforward solutions.

As the ‘no waste’ movement becomes a trend and a force for good, Margaret Camilleri Fenech, at the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development at UM, is assessing the local scenario. The University of Malta is collaborating with the Università Autonoma de Barcelona on this project. 

Read all about the project on THINK — UM's Research magazine.