Fabian Demicoli

Packaging & Packaging Waste Compliance Enforcement Lacking From all Aspects


Packaging and Packaging Waste
Compliance leaves much to be desired. Today over 2600 Produces are financial
contributors to the existing two Authorised schemes.
In 2010, 766 producers
claimed to be self-complaint to the legislation. When the competent Authority
requested proof it become known, and only one 7th March 2013 at 5.08 pm, that
these producers place 15,733 tons on the market and as such needed to recover
cumulatively over 53% of market placement

Instead certificates submitted to
MEPA for the period showed recovery of 566 tons, a 55.8% of the market placement.
This is not acceptable to ‘ bona fide' producers who pay schemes financially.
No new members have joined schemes since Jan 2012 when enforcement was
moved/transferred to the Enforcement Directorate. 

To add insult to injury,
since the MEPA segregation between Environment and planning is still taking
place, MEPA Enforcement is not enforcing legislation LN 277 of 2006 and
subsequent circulars issued to enforce such legislation.

Why is this? It's simple!
When the segregation issue is over it will be Minister Leo Brincat who will be
burdened with the issue, and whatever happens from then on, would only mirror
badly on Minister Leo Brincat. Whist we are sure that Minister Leo Brincat is
astute enough to take decisions without any bickering it is not fair that a
Directorate with substantial manpower has since January 2012 done next to
nothing over the enforcement of LN 277 of 2006.

Let us be direct. Green
MT has brought to the attention of MEPA in two meetings that nearly 600
producers (importers) are known ‘free riders'. This means that in the year 2009
they had renewed their Packaging & Packaging Waste Registration and have
not done so for 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Why? Because they did not
have the information MEPA requested them to have, which included an audit trail
of their packaging waste market placement and its recovery and disposal rate.

Without the above, no
renewal could be affected, so these 600 did not renew and MEPA took no action.
Today these 600 producers totally disregard their obligation to comply to LN
277 of 2006, they have done nothing since early 2010, at the least.

On seeing this we
cordially asked MEPA to inform these producers that they are in breach of the
legislation and since they have not come up with the required documentation,
they now have a time frame (60, 90 days) to join on Authorised Scheme. Was this
asking too much?

It seems that for MEPA it
was. As earlier stated this lack of enforcement by civil servants who speak
about being pro-environment but are actually doing well below their standard
requirements.

Time flies and we are now
nearly at the close of 2013. The way things have been going on since 2012,
early January, leave much to be desired.

Current operations are
stalling due to lack of funds brought about by the lack of enforcement. And of
course, one can do a lot of cost cutting measures but it's a pity that these
will include no weekly collections from schools which were until end 2009
serviced by Wasteserv and after that to date by Authorised Schemes. We will now
be asking school to use the Recycle Tuesday's Service, and also a Thursday or
Friday collection where it is available.

MEPA is more interested
in looking within than looking outside, we are giving a wrong direction. We are
playing with our own environmental future.

In this entire scenario,
and if operations start to be reduced, it will have to be Minister Leo Brincat
to shoulder the responsibility. After all the policy always was, that
Government has to move where the private sector cannot cope.

Most of the private
sector is working hard and providing finances to schemes. These are those that
are known, there are many others that need to follow, and it's here where MEPA
Enforcement Directorate needed to be the catalyst.

Green MT, a fully owned
subsidiary of the GRTU has until now been patient, worked day in day, for some
of us without sleep to make this extended producer responsibility an integral
part of our common good. Our calls to make sure that everyone is on board and a
fair level playing field have gone unheeded. Our final call will be on the
Prime Minister himself. We are sure that Dr Joseph Muscat will listen to our
urgent plea. It would then be up to others to take immediate action. Soon, and
so enough, this situation needs to be corrected, all we ask for is a fair and
level playing field for all producers, is it asking too much?

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