Air pipes

350 kg of asbestos pipes removed from Marsaxlokk roadside

About 350 kilos of dangerous asbestos pipes dumped illegally on the side of the road in Marsaxlokk more than two months ago have finally been removed after an order from the local council.

Marsaxlokk Local Council was responsible for removing the pipes but initially insisted they did not have the funds to cover the expense.

The pipes have been exposed on the side of the road since early June after none of the authorities took responsibility for removing the health hazard, residents said. People walked past the pipes on the main road to the famous St. Peter’s Pool every day.

PT Matic workers in hazmat suits removed dangerous asbestos pipes which were illegally dumped on the main road to St Peter’s Pool.

The material was finally demined a few days ago by a company specializing in the removal and safe disposal of hazardous waste, PT Matic, a subsidiary of the Alberta group. Workers in protective gear wrapped the asbestos-containing material before taking it away.

The company estimated that it would cost around €9,500, excluding VAT, to collect and dispose of the hazardous waste safely.

Asbestos pipes are removed.Asbestos pipes are removed.

Asbestos is a natural silicate once considered a miracle fiber and used in a wide range of materials installed in homes and offices.

Experts estimate that Malta has thousands of cubic meters of asbestos still installed in buildings.

Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, long-term inflammation and scarring of the lungs, which can also lead to cancer.

The managing director of PT Matic Environmental Services Ltd, Oliver Fenech, told The Times of Malta that the company had been tasked with the safe removal and disposal of the pipes.

Following the preparation of all documentation, including a full risk assessment and method statement as well as notification to the relevant authorities, all pipes were carefully collected, sealed in special packaging and shipped to an authorized landfill in EU, he said.

Throughout the work, air monitoring was carried out to ensure that all fibers in the air were within legal safety limits.

“PT Matic performed an environmental cleanup and decontamination of the area to ensure all debris was removed,” he said.

“The site was eventually certified as asbestos-free by an independent air quality expert, before being handed over to Marsaxlokk Council.”

The site after the removal of the asbestos pipes.The site after the removal of the asbestos pipes.

Marsaxlokk Mayor Steven Grech initially said the council did not have the funds to dispose of the waste, adding that incurring such a cost meant spending money on other planned projects and maintenance work would be lost.

Marsaxlokk Council’s general budget for the year, including salaries, is approximately €400,000.

According to audited accounts from last year, the municipality spent nearly €230,000 on maintenance, including the collection of rubbish and bulky items, street cleaning and general repair work.

He also spent €114,000 on salaries and €62,000 on administrative costs.

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