Gozo round table event discusses commercial waste management
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The Minister for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change José Herrera, with the Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana, addressed a round table event held in Gozo, `Commercial Sector – Important link in Waste Management,’ organised as part of the `Do not Waste Waste’ campaign.
This event offered the opportunity for those present to share their experiences in relation to the commercial sector and its effect on the waste management system, both locally, as well as national, focusing specifically on the island and the challenges it faces as a region.
Minister Herrera explained that the tourism sector in Gozo is constantly reducing its seasonality and is an important factor for the Gozitan economy.
“This sector contributes to the waste generated, as also is the number of small businesses that shape the Gozitan economy,” he said.
The next step in the waste management sector is to address commercial waste, and the Ministry is drawing up an action plan for collecting commercial waste, the Minister said.
He explained that so far there are mandatory requirements for those who operate hotels and restaurants, with a requirement to have a contractor to collect the waste they generate.
“It is time for the business sector to start to assume responsibility for its waste, making it sustainable and separating the waste it generates in its operation,” stressed Dr. Herrera.
He continued, “The Government recognises that SMEs have particular difficulties because of their small size. So we need to understand the challenges and address them.”
“On our side we facilitate this transition by offering this service but not the administrative burdens such as choosing a contractor, contracts and payments,” he added.
The Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana mentioned a number of initiatives that the Ministry has started working on to address the problem of waste in Gozo.
She pointed out that in September last year, a conference was held in Gozo staged by the Directorate of Eco-Gozo on this particular challenge, which was attended by many stakeholders where a number of suggestions were noted.
The Minister said that one of the first initiatives taken was the intervention team which was responsible for maintaining cleanliness in Gozo. In addition, during the year there were several clean-up events with the participation of many NGOs and Gozitan students.
She explained that the Ministry also covers the cost of extra of a second waste collections from the locations of Marsalforn and Xlendi.
Dr Caruana poke about the Ministry’s consume-less project, being conducted through European funds in order to reduce by 50% the waste generated by restaurants.
“This is not the only exercise because the Ministry is also working on the introduction of smart bins in Gozo as well,” said Minister Caruana.
She concluded by stating that “this challenge can only be mitigated by a leap in our culture and by greater access to disposal facilities and separation of waste. Above all, the need for more enforcement and incentives to the business sector, in particular to adopt responsible practices.”
Photo: MGOZ/Terry Camilleri