Waste management in Malta is a serious topic, especially due to its limited landmass and the growing demands of a modern society. With a population density among the highest in Europe, Malta produces a substantial amount of waste on a daily basis. Given Malta’s limited landfill space coupled by the environmental consequences of mismanaged waste, a fundamental shift in waste management practices was essential.
Waste separation is enforceable by law for everyone, including businesses, governmental and non-governmental entities as well as private homes. Compliance to the mandatory waste separation regulations is being ensured by implementing various strategies, namely:
Education and outreach: While penalties serve as a deterrent, education plays a vital role in fostering long-term compliance. The Environment & Resources Authority (ERA) has invested in extensive educational campaigns to raise awareness about the benefits of waste separation and the consequences of non-compliance.
From last June to early September, compliance and enforcement officials from ERA have carried out inspections at over 1,300 food establishments as part of the educational campaign. Such campaigns have been crucial in aiming to change attitudes and behaviours over time.
Penalties: The most straightforward approach to enforcement is imposing fines on non-compliant households. These fines act as a deterrent, encouraging residents to adhere to the waste separation guidelines and schedule. The fines range from €75 for businesses and €25 for households, which will double to €150 and €50 respectively if the individual is caught repeatedly disposing of waste inappropriately. These fines are designed to be significant enough to discourage non-compliance while not burdening citizens unfairly.
Regular inspections: Compliance and enforcement officials from ERA conduct routine inspections to ensure that households are following waste separation guidelines and are adhering to the schedule. This proactive approach helps identify non-compliant households and provides an opportunity for corrective action.
In August, alone, nearly 500 inspections in 43 different localities were carried out by ERA officials, predominantly at St. Paul’s Bay, Gzira, Swieqi, Msida and even Comino!
Community engagement: Community involvement is key for the success of mandatory waste separation. ERA, together with the Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise (MEEE) has organised various beach events throughout summer focusing on educational activities on waste separation aimed for all the family to enjoy.
The mandatory waste separation initiative in Malta, albeit being a complex environmental issue especially for a small island like Malta, has to be effectively adopted in everyone’s daily routine as much as possible. It is everybody’s duty to respect our shared natural heritage by reducing our environmental footprint. If someone would like to know more about the topic of waste separation, he or she is encouraged to visit wastecollection.mt.