• January 18 2004
Call for Ghallis to be accepted instead of temple landfills
Pullicino Orlando and Ing Marco Cremona, a hydrologist, made a strong
case for the temple landfill proposal to be scrapped and suggested only
a permanent landfill be established at Ghallis.
Pullicino Orlando and Cremona also called on MEPA not to accept the
EIA reports as presented and said the consultants that had a conflict
Pullicino Orlando strongly protested that the time frame for the EIA
reports was too short, and suggested that SLR, the consulting company
which is also to be engaged in the planning stage as well as to monitor
the landfill, could not be relied upon to prepare a fair report.
Pullicino Orlando pointed out that SLR is suggesting that gases emanating
from the landfill after capping should be disposed by flaming. He said
the flaming produced acidic gases which can "very easily damage
the outer surface," of the Mnajdra and Hagar Qim temples. Pullicino
Orlando asked: "Are we prepared to face the possibility of seeing
our heritage literally crumble before our eyes?"
Referring to the seasonal studies in the EIA it was noted that these
reports have given a new definition to the name of multi-seasonal studies
with wet and dry seasons contemplated over 3 months.
Ing. Cremona, who is a technical consultant for Friends of the Earth
(Malta), pointed out that there was no basis for having an interim landfill.
Cremona showed by reference to facts and figures how, contrary to what
has been claimed by SLR and WasteServ, the Ghallis first cell can be
prepared in a few months. Cremona also said the six-day study to select
the interim landfill sites was flawed. He said that if the EIA reports
are to be believed and the lining is so fail-safe, the site for the
interim landfill, should Malta need one, could have included other sites.
Cremona pointed out that the studies presented to civil society were
incomplete. The study "omits to address a number of matters listed
in the Terms of Reference…no hydrological tests were carried out
at the site at all, no benthic survey of the marine environment was
undertaken and no modelling of the transport of pollutants in groundwater
was carried out."
to temple sites not studied
Despite popular opposition to the choice of Malta’s interim waste
landfill sites the government has not lifted a finger to seriously consider
alternatives, MaltaToday has learned.
Instead of siting the waste landfills 300 metres from the Mnajdra temples
the government could have considered keeping Maghtab open until the
permanent landfill is ready to accept waste, or chosen an operational
quarry to receive Malta’s mixed waste.
Opponents to the landfill sites were hoping that the draft EIA for the
landfill would consider other options and were led to believe so because
in the EIA’s terms of reference it was stated that: "The
Project Description Statement (PDS) commissioned by the developer needs
to be audited. This audit - including sieve analysis and matrix information
- should establish whether the conclusions contained in the PDS are
acceptable and whether the two quarries are the preferred option."
While the study that chose the sites next to the temples was prepared
in six days, it was expected that the EIA would look more closely at
In the chapter on ‘Need and Alternatives’ there is no attempt
to weigh up the different alternatives. Indeed when referring to Maghtab
the report includes only conclusions and there is nothing to either
back up the statements or any reference to any public document. There
is not even the slightest attempt to compare the impacts of keeping
Maghtab operational, or choosing another quarry with filling the ‘temple’
The reasons for not keeping Maghtab open are as follows: "the landfill
is uncontained, allowing gas and leachate to escape in an uncontrolled
manner; the landfill has reached is maximum areal extent; further filling
on the top of the landfill would significantly increase the visual impact
of the landfill; there is combustion underway in parts of the landfill;
uncontained landfilling does not comply with EU requirements for landfill.
Unlike many other parts of the draft EIA, these statements are left
standing on their own, there is no scientific analysis or reference
to data to back up the statements.
While Malta faces a problem of complying with the landfill directive
by May 1, whatever happens in the next months, no landfill can be made
ready in the intervening period.
The idea of using operational quarries was dismissed without any attempt
to study or justify the conclusion: "Whilst active quarries can
provide potential locations for landfills, providing that they are sufficiently
large to accommodate both operations simultaneously, there is a clear
potential for conflict between the two uses which could hinder or delay
the establishment of a landfill."
The idea that the operational quarry be closed so as to accommodate
the landfill was not even mentioned in the EIA.
While Heritage Malta has said it opposes filling the quarries close
to Mnajdra with mixed waste, but would agree that the landfills be filled
with inert waste, that option was dismissed by the experts who reported:
"Whilst this may form part of a future package for reclamation
and enhancement of the area, there are no current proposals for such
infilling other than the current development proposal."
It is government’s plan to fill the lined quarries with mixed
household and industrial non toxic waste, but an element of toxicity
in the waste will always be present.
The waste dumped at the temple site will be similar the same as is being
dumped at Magtab.
Even before the studies started, the consultants were not approved as
they should have been. "The socio-economic expert was not approved
when the EIA process started and now one was brought in through the
back door. The socio-economic study is not acceptable," FoE campaigner
Martin Galea de Giovanni said.