PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR EUROPEAN FUNDS AND SOCIAL DIALOGUE Wied Fulija will be given a new face

Wied Fulija, a dilapidated and disused landfill in Zurrieq, is set to be rehabilitated into a 95,000m2 nature park. During an onsite visit to unveil the project, Environment Minister Jose Herrera said that this project will not only decrease pollution, but the re-profiling and landscaping of this landfill will also improve the natural surroundings, providing the community with a natural park with an area equivalent to 9 times the size of the National Stadium shall be embellished. The rehabilitation works began in March 2019, intending to see the completion of the project by December 2020. Minister Herrera announced that around 45,000 mature trees and indigenous shrubs will be planted on this site.

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia added that the government is making full use of a mix of EU funding programmes for different projects aimed at protecting the natural and maritime environment as well as the quality of water. He explained that this project, which is financed by the Cohesion Fund, is part of the government’s long-term plan to utilise EU funds to this end. He mentioned programmes such as the LIFE RBMP as well as significant investments in water sustainability amounting to over Euros 100 million. He said that the rehabilitation of this valley will not only be protecting the environment but would also give back this unique scenery to the public, thereby also improving the quality of life.

The site which started to be used as a landfill back in 1979 ceased to accept waste in 1996 and has not been active since. It covers an area of around 95,000m2 and it is estimated that over its operating period some 1.85 million tonnes of waste were deposited there. While there are no formal records available, it is likely that all waste types produced in Malta, including hazardous waste, were disposed of there when this site was active. Over time, a route has formed dragging waste and spilling it down the cliff into the sea below and currently, there is no system in place to prevent this detrimental impact on the surroundings.

Wasteserv has stepped in to curtail any further spillage of waste into the sea and restrict other pollutants through the implementation of an intensive restoration strategy. Wasteserv CEO Tonio Montebello outlined the various objectives of this project and pointed out that this rehabilitation, apart from visually integrating the landfill with the surrounding landscape, will reduce rainfall infiltration to minimise leachate productions which would otherwise have a consequential impact on groundwater quality. Furthermore, the capping of the landfill will limit the air from entering the waste, thus reducing the extent of combustion over time.

Source: Government of Malta