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The failure by the government to recognise the financial burden that businesses have had to put up with over the last 10 years to meet their environmental obligations remains a mystery. Unless, of course, there is a hidden political agenda to place the business community in a bad light.
Years ago businesses relieved the government of the cost of the grey/green bag collections of recyclable waste and bring in sites collection logistics. The business community, through two authorised compliance schemes, assumed responsibility for this as agreed with the government in July 2009. Now, 10 years later, the government contends that because of a grey area in the legislation (which was enacted in 2010) relating to this agreement, the business community did not meet its obligations to the full.
They now contend that producers or importers need to fork out 40 per cent of the Eco Contribution exempted between 2009 and 2016, the year the legislation was practically shredded and replaced by excise (which was not the agreement either).
It seems that the government was advised by the Attorney General that looking prime facie at the legislation as penned in 2010 it has a right to demand these funds. However, this goes deeper. The government knows deep down that the business community met its expectations, and paid for the last 10 years for recyclable collections without ever pointing a finger at the government.
And now 10 years later, the business community might be forced by this pro-business government to fork out millions more. This, after the government decided that over 40 per cent of the collections made, including paper, magazines, leaflets and unsolicited mail are not to be accredited to the legislation enacted in 2010. Why would the business community collect paper and cartons in the grey and green bags if this was not accredited in the legislation? It is clear that the legislation had a lacuna, a grey area, and this will be challenged in court if necessary.
To add insult to injury an audit firm was involved from 2012 onwards and issued a preliminary report in 2017. It was only in July 2017 that the government, as directed by this audit firm and backed by the AG’s office, stated that cartons, paper, leaflets, magazines and unsolicited mail will not to be included in the collection figures. Great, in 2017 you get to learn the rules of a game that goes back to July 2009. The mind boggles as to why the business community should ever come to terms with any administration unless such agreements are scrutinised by 100 lawyers.
Green MT provides Bring-In Sites which are owned by the Scheme itself, to Local Councils free of charge, to enable the residents to deposit clean, source-segregated recyclable materials.
Bring-in Sites consist of four containers:
- blue for plastic
- white for paper
- brown for glass
- black for metal
Recyclable materials collected from these bring-in sites are taken separately to the facility.
In Malta there are also Civic Amenity sites which are facilities where the public can take and discard various types of bulky household waste, including domestic hazardous waste as well.
Although having all these free of charge services, sometimes one can still find illegal dumping, also called fly dumping or fly tipping, which is the dumping of waste illegally such as dumping bulky waste on street corners, or even leaving garbage bags at bring-in sites at inappropriate times instead of using an authorised method such as kerbside collection or pay the fees charged by designated waste facilities or an authorised waste carrier to collect such waste in a proper manner.
Such a case happened for many times in a particular Bring-In Site which was placed in Triq Salvu Borg Olivier, Although even monitored by CCTV no one was ever handed a contravention at this site. Such abuse was never permitted by the Scheme. Green MT sends over the contractor to empty such bins and report bulky waste to be collected by the Local Council almost daily.
Green MT had to recently take action because of this abuse The Bring-In Site was removed and the area totally cleaned. This entailed quite an expense to the Scheme and clearly showed that Bring in Sites that are placed further away from habitable areas tend to be abused continously. The Siggiewi Local Council is working hand in hand with the Scheme to try and locate an alternative Bring In Site to place the said bins for use by those who are pro- environmental.