GRTU acknowledges the issue there is with waste in Valletta, an issue that both GRTU and its members in the retail, catering and hospitality sector within Valletta want to see resolved. In fact, this has been flagged by businesses themselves on a number of occasions because businesses care about the capital city. They care not only because they walk in every now and again and are displeased with the waste they see on the street, but because they have their investments and means of living in Valletta. Waste left on the street gives a bad image of the capital city as a whole especially with V18 right around the corner. Such state, diminishes the attractiveness of the capital to visitors and reduces the value of any investment.
The solution to this problem is not easy, but by no means impossible. Until recently a number of solutions, some very costly, were implemented but these did not give the desired results mainly because a piecemeal approach does not work.
With the appointment of Hon Deo Debattista as Parliamentary Secretary, responsible for cleansing, things seem to have taken a different turn and the will to do things differently is evident. As soon as GRTU was approached, in consultation and to ensure the cooperation of the business community, we gave our full support and commitment. GRTU has in fact, a few months ago, conducted a survey amongst 91 catering establishments in order to take stock of the current state of play. Amongst these only 8 establishments reported not having a private contractor. All the rest gave us the name of their contractor and the waste collection schedule. GRTU is of course not in a position to check the veracity of such claims, however the information provided is very encouraging.
GRTU does not believe that the problem will cease, simply by ensuring that all the catering establishments have a private contractor. When things look complicated many turn to the private sector to find a magical solution. The reality is far from that and that is why we believe that the waste problem in Valletta tackled collectively through shared responsibility. A capital city like Valletta needs to be protected more than other localities and a coordinated system is required. Currently there are at least 10 different contractors that GRTU knows of, coming in with their waste vans and trucks into Valletta at different times of the day.
GRTU has carried out an extensive consultation with its members to find solutions and we are pleased to say that we found common ground with Hon Debattista and we are now awaiting to be involved in the implementation stage. This will see collection times organised, off peak hours as far as possible. The biggest change will however be the quality of waste collection, which has deteriorated over the years, due to lack of controls and poor procurement practices.
GRTU therefore welcomes the new impetus to seriously tackle the issue of waste in Valletta and the establishment of an agency for the procurement of waste services in the locality in a professional manner. The business community is keen to see changes implemented in a holistic manner.