“Land reclamation is a non-starter”

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Land reclamation is a non-starter, local pressure group Extinction Rebellion said as it called for proper holistic and long-term solution to the disposal of construction waste.

On Monday, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia suggested that the dumping of construction waste at sea could be a short-term solution as disagreements on waste disposal has brought roadworks across the country to a standstill.

The Times of Malta had reported that Infrastructure Malta had informed all contractors that roadworks had to stop as of today due to a lack of sites for the disposal of construction waste. But Farrugia himself had noted that there was sufficient dumping space for years to come – various quarries are licensed to accept construction waste – suggesting that the issue was one of pricing.

The Environment and Resources Authority had reacted to the news saying that it expected all developers and contractors to seek proper waste management facilities prior to the commencement of works that are known to generate any quantities of construction waste.

The pressure group stressed that it was of the belief that land reclamation was a non-starter. It explained that most of Malta is surrounded by sea grass meadows, which are extremely important for many forms of sea life. “Pursuing land reclamation would come at an unjustifiable environmental cost,” Extinction Rebellion said.

The pressure group called on the authorities to nationalise landfills and have long-term plans in place for their use. It noted that this would free up space and make sure “that no one is unfairly disadvantaged.”

“Recycling of construction waste should be systematically encouraged and made a priority,” Extinction Rebellion said, adding that this would turn waste into a resource.

The pressure group said that Farrugia’s “green revolution” should encompass all aspects and that past mistakes were not justified by repeating them today.