Environmental report calls on Malta to improve waste management, air quality and protection of habitats

Helena Grech - 23rd July 2019 

An Environment Implementation Review drawn up by the European Commission commended examples of good practice, while commenting that Malta is leading on providing services to its citizens.

Malta has been told to speed up implementation of the EU waste management requirements, improve the air quality in the most urbanised areas and improve the protection of habitats and species of EU interest by fully implementing the Natura 2000 instruments.

Recommendations were made in an Environmental Implementation Review (EIR), drawn up by the European Commission. It is a tool used to improve implementation of EU environmental law and policy. It aims to address the causes of implementation gaps and try to find solutions before problems become urgent.

In the report, it states that “Malta has yet to organise an EIR national dialogue that could have addressed the challenges listed above”.

While the report acknowledged improvement in waste management, even highlighting the introduction of the organic bag, it went on to say:

“The recycling rate is too low, far below the EU average and the landfill rate remains too high - over three times the EU average. According to the Commission’s ‘Early Warning Report’ (2018), Malta is considered at risk of non-compliance with the 2020 municipal waste recycling target of 50 %.”

It noted that Malta has “not yet capitalised on turning waste into a resource and low recycling rates into business opportunities”.

It observed “some progress” in addressing air quality and congestion, commending investment in public transport.

Onto the destruction of natural habitats, the Commission lamented that “protection of habitats and species by fully implementing the Natura 2000 instruments and strengthening the enforcement of nature directives has long remained a challenge in Malta”.

The Commission remarked that “Malta is leading on the supply of government services to citizens, ranking first on the re-use of information across administrations (pre-filled forms) as well as on the sophistication of services (online service completion) and continued to improve in digital public spaces”.

It concluded by outlining good practices embarked on by the government such as the ‘Don’t Waste Waste’ campaign by the Ministry for Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, free transport for school children and information access points raising awareness on litter clean-ups.

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