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Landfill island

I read with some sadness that the Għargħur local council has decided to object to the waste-to-energy incinerator at Magħtab.

With the increase in population producing more and more unrecyclable rubbish, landfill is not a solution, especially on an island the size of Malta. Two thirds of the costs of today’s modern incinerators go into the scrubbers, the technology which ensures the emissions from the chimney are almost as clean as the air going into the furnace. There is one such incinerator in Edmonton, north London, and, in Switzerland, a town producing chocolate is downwind of two waste incinerators, so in such densely-populated areas there are no negative effects on the air quality in the neighbouring area or on the food industry.

In the UK, 15 per cent of landfill waste consists of used disposable nappies, which take up to 150 years to decompose. Most of the plastics used for food wrapping, such as black plastic trays and polystyrene, cannot be recycled, so goes to landfill. Waste-to-energy incineration releases the energy tied up in such waste. It can also burn up awkward waste, such as worn tyres and mattresses.

Waste-to-energy incinerators can and do generate four income streams. Firstly, heat to generate electricity. Secondly, recycled metal from tyres, mattresses, etc, which can be then sold at a premium as it is clean. Thirdly, the ash can be sold to the construction industry for building, etc. And, fourthly, the heat can be used for area central heating but this is unlikely in Malta.

So, please, Għargħur council rethink your objection. Otherwise, Malta will become one enormous landfill site using up the limited space left on this attractive island.

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