Malta hosts landfill project meeting

A three-day meeting on the theme of landfill management was held in Malta between the 12th and 14th November.

This was the ninth ‘Inter-regional Exchange of Experiences’ for the EU Funded project COCOON, which aims to improve regional policy on landfill management. It sees the participation of Wasteserv, Malta’s waste management company and the Environment and Resource Authority (ERA) who have teamed up to participate in this Interreg Europe project.  The name Cocoon was inspired by the metamorphic change that waste goes through in the process of landfill mining.

The aim of the project is improve the way countries handle landfills. It is particularly pertinent to Malta, which has limited land for landfilling. Indeed, one of the primary goals of the project is to recover land, while also avoiding future hazards to the environment. Working in partnership with a number of EU countries, the project focuses on developing policy as well as increasing funding allocations by means of special programmes. Moreover, landfill management projects generate economic development opportunities and create new green jobs.

Since the 1950s, Europe has been disposing significant amounts of waste in landfills. In fact it is estimated that over 450,000 non-sanitary landfills in Europe have limited environmental protection technologies. In light of this, the European Commission has acknowledged that a vision for managing Europe’s landfills is urgently required. Landfills are to be considered as dynamic stocks of resources that can be integrated into the economy, while landfill management supports reclaiming land and avoids astronomic remediation and aftercare costs.

This meeting was the last inter-regional exchange of experiences for Phase one of the COCOON project and focused on economic and legal aspects related to landfill management. Various good practices from different regions together with plans of action were discussed. Each region will be implementing an action plan which will be monitored during phase two of the project. During the event, participants visited the Magħtab Environmental Complex, where they saw how waste is treated at the Malta North Facility and also operations at the Għallis landfill.  They also visited the rehabilitated Magħtab landfill within the same complex and were also given a presentation on the rehabilitation project of Wied Fulija landfill in Żurrieq

The five-year-long EU funded project is coordinated by I-Cleantech Flanders, a Belgian entity, which brings together eight partners from Cyprus, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Malta.