Maghtab could stink for at least 20 more years

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 August, 2021 at 10:46 am by Andre Camilleri

People complaining about smells that still emanate from the Maghtab landfill will have to wait for another two decades for their wish to have an odourless complex to be fulfilled.

This is because it will take another 20 years for the stink coming from Maghtab to be eradicated.

The bad odour that envelops the Coast Road and surrounding areas was a daily occurrence during the years when organic waste used to be dumped there regularly as the Maghtab “mountain” grew higher. But although officially the landfill was closed some 20 years ago, another 20 years have to pass for the smell to go away completely.

Landfills which have not been constructed in an engineered way like the Maghtab landfill remain active and as a result, produce smells for 40 years after closure, a Wasteserv spokesperson told The Malta Independent.

Moreover, landfill stench levels vary with warm temperatures and wind, the spokesperson said.

Maghtab has been closed for about 20 years, and despite having a gas extraction system in place, it will continue to be generate odour for another 20 years to come.

In recent months the gas extraction system was overhauled to further limit such impact.

Magħtab complex encompasses three landfills; the Għallis landfill which is an engineered landfill that is currently in operation; the Żwejra landfill which is also an engineered landfill that is currently not active; and the Magħtab landfill − which has been decommissioned since 2004.

Maghtab is part of the Renewable Energy Source (RES) EU target to obtain 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020 and at least 32 per cent by 2030.

EU countries have been set different targets and last year these were reached by 11 member states. Malta’s 2020 RES target was of 10%.

WasteServ said it is contributing to this target and last year they produced 2.53 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity through gases captured from the landfill and from the processing of organic waste.

WasteServ recently launched the ECOHIVE project, the largest investment in waste management in Malta, which will revolutionise the way we approach and manage waste and drive the country towards a circular economy.

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