NT-FEE Malta responds to the proposal to dump construction waste at sea
Press Statement 1 February 2019
Following the recent media reports quoting the Malta Developer Association’s call to find a suitable area at sea for the dumping of construction waste, Nature Trust – FEE Malta is particularly disappointed that the sea may be the next to fall victim to environmental degradation, besides the fact that this quick-fix solution is dumping a special resource.
This problem has been brought up time and time again but government after government, this was not addressed and no long-term construction waste strategy was devised, allowing this problem to reach its critical stage today. Developers are now irresponsibly taking the easy way out by recommending dumping at sea as a quick fix solution. In 2004, when Malta joined the European Union, many hoped that our islands would have a long-term plan to address the waste issue. Fourteen years later, not only did we not solve this issue but have had our authorities re open landfills again.
A large proportion of Malta’s immediate territorial waters was recently designated as Marine Protected Areas in the form of Special Protected Areas or Special Areas of Conservation (and consequently Natura 2000 sites) and our marine environment is also a major source of income for our islands, both in terms of fisheries but also in terms of trade and tourism.
While acknowledging that construction and demolition waste is a major source of waste on our islands, the organisation feels that prevention is better than cure. As highlighted by the 2008 European Union Waste Framework Directive, disposal is the worst possible option for the environment while reduction is the most advisable.
Waste Hierarchy (adapted from Directive 2008/98/EC)
Since the current construction frenzy does not appear to be slowing down, NT-FEE Malta believes that reducing the generation of stone at source may mitigate generation of construction waste in the first place.
Possible ideas to reduce waste may be to:
- Practice deconstruction instead of demolition
- Encourage plans and designs that generate less waste
- Use standard sizes and quantities of materials in buildings to reduce off cuts and, should off cuts be generated, these may be stored and used in future buildings
- Use waste stone to restore rubble walls around the Maltese Islands
- Use waste stone to reconstitute building blocks
- Pulverization of limestone in order to create limestone dust and used for other purposes
Finally, only recently was it announced that the local Globigerina Limestone was designated as a Global Heritage Stone Resource by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). Yet, the it seems that the MDA deems it fit to dump one of the most important rock types into the sea.