Malta u l-politika

Ittri ċċensurati u punti ta' riflessjoni politika.

 

 

 

 

On 11 October 2003, BirdLife called a press conference as a follow-up to an open letter it sent the Prime Minister on 26 September 2003. BirdLife said that while it disagrees outright with all the concessions that the government won for hunters in its EU negotiations, the Society expects the government at least to implement what it negotiated, namely:

 

1.                  to allow hunting in spring of turtle dove and quail ONLY

2.                  to protect adequately all its nature reserves

3.                  to ensure adequate administrative capacity and sufficient legal instruments to curb illegal hunting

4.                  to afford protection to birds in need of special protection

 

None of this has happened yet. All we have in practice is hunters still free to hunt whatever they like in spring. BirdLife also noted that several points of the current legislation are not in line with the common position negotiated with the EU, including

 

1.         trapping of species other than those agreed

2.         trapping of finches in spring

3.         hunting at sea in spring

4.         hunting with sea-craft far exceeding 18 knots

 

Moreover, Malta has the shortest close season in Europe, which also coincides with the time when very few birds are migrating. The hunting season opens on 1 Sep, just as migration starts picking up, and on 1 Oct hunters at sea join the carnage. BirdLife asked: What chance do ANY birds have of making a safe trip across Malta?

 

In Gozo, hunting goes totally unchecked. The police there are slow to react. Illegal equipment like vertical nets and birdcallers are common throughout the countryside. BirdLife asked: Has the government given up on Gozo?

 

Trapping sites should be registered, but the government has not done this yet. BirdLife asked: How many trapping sites are on public land? How many enforcement notices have been served on illegal trapping site?

 

There are illegal trapping sites near and even right on top of megaliths and archaeological sites. Trappers damage the sites irreparably. BirdLife asked: How come such people are tolerated?

 

Surveys show that over 60% of the Maltese want tougher action against hunters. BirdLife asked: Whose interests is the government protecting?

 

Public land leased by the Lands Department for agricultural purposes is being rented out for hunting and trapping. BirdLife asked: What is Lands doing about this?

 

The government is not willing to make a move. There is no co-ordination between departments, ministries and sections. There are police officers willing to take up the challenge, but the authorities' standard moan is that you can't put a policeman with every hunter. If the government has made regulations that are unenforceable, it has only itself to blame, and it isn't as though BirdLife didn't forewarn the authorities of this.

 

 

Ahjar mejtin jew hajjin?

 

 

 

Wiehed mill-oqsma li fih il-Gvern Nazzjonalista falla, kien bla dubju ta' xejn il-qasam tal-ambjent. Matul is-snin li ilu jmexxi l-pajjiz il-PN, ittiehdu mizuri hziena li bihom l-ambjent Malti ha' daqqa ta' harta. Imma fl-istess waqt, minhabba l-fatt li impatt negattiv fuq l-ambjent kulhadd jista jarah, il-Gvern Nazzjonalista ha mizuri zghar, kosmetici u ta' malajr sabiex jiprova jghatti ftit mill-kruha ta' dan l-abbuz fuq l-ambjent Malti. Donnu meta wiehed jitkellem mal-Gvern fuq l-ambjent qisu qed jitkellem mal-hajt. Tant saru appelli lill-Gvern sabiex jiehu din is-sitwazzjoni bis-serjeta li bilfors ikollok tasal ghall-konkluzjoni li l-Gvern ma jridx jaf. Wara kollox Dr. Fenech Adami stess qal li l-ambjent mhux prijorita ghall-Gvern tieghu allura b'attegjament bhal dan bilfors li l-ambjent f'Malta jmur lura. X'hinu l-ambjent? L-ambjent huwa prattikament dak kollu li ghandna madwarna. Sigar, bahar, arja, toroq, indafa, bini, karozzi, hsejjes . . . kollox jaghmel parti minn dan l-ambjent li qeghdin nghixu fih. U ma rridx ninsa l-ambjent huwa wkoll il-port il-kbir sew jekk ikun fih cruise liners bellezza tat-turisti u kemm jekk ikun mimli bastimenti tal-gwerra. Inhalli f'idejkom biex tiddeciedu liema ambjent huwa l-isbah.

 

Il-fatti li ser ingib ghall-attenzjoni taghkom ma tantx jista jhallulkom dubji dwar kemm verament hemm bahar jaqsam bejn dak li jghidu u jweghdu l-PN u dak li fil-fatt jaslu biex jaghmlu. Daqqa jitkellmu mod imbaghad tarahom jaghmlu bil-maqlub. Tinsewx li l-ambjent mhux xi propjeta ta' xi individwu, ghaqda jew partit imma l-ambjent huwa ta' kulhadd minghajr l-ebda distinzjoni. Ghalhekk jekk l-ambjent jitkerrah, dak ikun sar ghad-detriment tal-Maltin kollha. Allura fuq dan m'ghandiex tidhol il-politika partiggjana . . . suppost! Imma meta nigu sabiex naraw x'ghamel Gvern Nazzjonalista insibu li b'mod vili, b'mod li ma jaghmel l-ebda sens, ittiehdu decizjonijiet li per ezempju progetti ambjentali li bdew taht amministrazzjoni Laburista ta' Dr. Sant gew imwaqqfa u mitluqa sakemm intesa kollox. L-iskop ta' din il-pagna f'din il-web site huwa appuntu sabiex ahna ma ninsewx.

 

Nghid ukoll li l-ambjent innifsu mhux xi responsabilta tal-Gvern biss. Hadd m'ghandu jahseb li huwa l-Gvern biss responsabbli mill-ambjent. Ir-responsabilta jgorra kulhadd. Imma mhux kulhadd ghandu l-istess ammont ta' responsabilta ghalhekk l-aktar li jgorr htija tas-sitwazzjoni huwa l-Gvern innifsu.

 

Nibdew naraw x'sar.

 

Ezempji ta' abbuz fl-ambjent. F'Marzu 1990 kien hemm mhux inqas minn sitt batching plants jahdmu minghajr permess dawn kienu f'Haz Zebbug, Haz-Zabbar, in-Nadur, Kercem, Ghajnsielem u l-Qala.

 

Fl-1990 ir-Residents Associations Federation giet ikkwotata li qalet li hawn, “total chaos in building laws enforcement.”

 

F'Gunju 1992, Il-Gens qaltilna, “il-gvern ippublika dak li qed isejjahlu bhala rapport nazzjonali dwar l-ambjent taghna... Ir-rapport ma tantx jilghab bil-kliem... Il-fatti u c-cifri li jaghti juri realta li tikkonferma li pajjizna sejjer lura f'li ghandu x'jaqsam ma' l'ambjent. Il-wirt ta' pajjizna qed ikun wisq impoggi fil-genb... Rigward l-iskart ma nistghux nifhmu kif il-gvern jaf fejn qed jintrema bla permess u ma jiehux passi konkreti biex dan l-abbuz sfaccat jieqaf darba ghal dejjem...l-ambjent ta' madwarna jinsab fi krizi.” Dan kien fl-1992, issa li ghaddew dawn is-snin kollha l-ambjent Malti GHADU FI KRIZI. Allura t-tort ta' min hu?

 

Fl-Lulju 1992 residenti f'San Pawl il-bahar wara zmien twil jilmentaw mall-Ministeru ghall-Ambjent dwar il-qaghda hazina fejn jghixu spiccaw hargu huma bl-ixkupi, pali u bramel biex inaddfu t-toroq. Dan wara li x-xahar ta' qabel residenti ta' Triq Arsnell hargu jaghmlu l-istess. On The Dot ta' The Times kien irraporta hekk, “the residents of Arsnell Street, St. Paul's Bay could not stand the state of their road any longer. So they got together and after the ladies cleared the dust, the gentlemen dug up the mud and a resident who owns a water bowser washed the road clean. What a shame dear minister!” Nahseb taf kemm staha l-ministru!!!           

 

Tiftakru kif ghal snin shah il-funtana tat-Tritoni l-belt kienet thalliet abbandunata? Kellhom ikunu l-haddiema tal-Mistra Village li f'Awwissu tal-1992 kienu marru jnaddfuha. Il-Ministeru ma stahax jabbanduna funtana daqshekk importanti li bil-mod il-mod kienet saret qisha mizbla.

 

F'Jannar 1993 The Times iddiskriviet il-belt kapitali, “Valletta must rank among the shabbiest and most run-down capitals of the western world and ought to be regarded as a national disgrace. Apart from being dirty and choked with parked and moving cars, its pavements are in a terrible state of repair, the streets are disfigured by festoons of telephone wires and electrical cables, and the facades of many fine buildings are dilapidated.”

 

L-anqas zoni residenzjali “puliti” ma helsuha mit-telqa ambjentali. F'April 1993 residenti tas-Swieqi spiccaw hallsu huma stess biex it-triq taghhom titnaddaf.

 

F'Settembru 1993 The Times fakkritna fid-differenza enormi li hemm meta wiehed jasal Malta u jghaddi mill-ajruport sabih imbaghad . . . “the harsh truth is that the airport's flawless environment does not prepare one for the desert of filth that Malta is rapidly becoming. ... There is much visual and tangible evidence to back it.”

 

F'Ottubru 1993, Henry Frendo kiteb fin-Nazzjon u qal, “putirjal... Qisu suq, qisu pont. Konfuzjoni nobis. Gegwigija. Ding. Traskuragni. Rassa. Lanqas pavimentar. Bankini bil-hofor. Xehta ta' belt li m'ghadiex li kienet, mitluqa, fgata, dabbar rasek u suq 'l hemm. Ejja ha mmorru. ... Sur Bondin, hallik mill-knejjes, dur dawra ma' din.” (Ghal Ray Bondin kien qieghed jghid).

 

Herbet Naudi (Kandidat Nazzjonalista ghal-elezzjoni tal-kunsill lokali tas-Sliema) “tas-Sliema sa ftit taz-zmien ilu kienet belt sabiha qabel ma gew il-krejnijiet u l-bulldozers, iwaqqghu l-palazzi, vilel u djar sbieh li kienet thaddan din il-belt.” Dan kitbu fin-Nazzjon f'Marzu 1994.

 

Ma ninsewx ir-residenti ta' Marsaxlokk. “the people of Marsaxlokk are already suffering from the siting of the power station, which has reduced the quality of their lifestyles”. – Dan kien messagg mill-Marsaxlokk Residents Association, f'The Times f'Mejju 1994

 

U f'Awwissu 1994, The Sunday Times qaltilna, “... Roads leading to the major hotels present one eyesore after another, with piles of rubbish, heaps of scrap iron, and broken pavements littering the way... And talking of the water, it has become the exception, rather than the rule for this to be clean and pleasant.. Sewage overflow in Bugibba, Qawra and St. Paul's Bay... We Maltese deserve a better quality of life in a clean unpolluted environment.”

 

F'Settembru 1994, Fisheye ta' Il-gens qaltilna, “l-anqas tmur il-bahar ma tista issa bid-drenagg li hawn.”

 

F'Dicembru tal-1994 Francis Zammit Dimech kien ivvinta wahda kbira. Qal, “popular bathing beaches in Malta will be free from drainage pollution by next summer, Environment Minister Francis Zammit Dimech promised yesterday.” Irrapurtatu The Malta Independent.

 

Aktar serju kien ir-rapport ta' the Times f'Settembru 1995 fejn qalet, “the neglected state of Wied Qirda in Zebbug may have caused the floods which left a Qormi man dead during record rainfalls on Wednesday night.” Dak li jigri meta ma tiehux hsieb l-ambjent . . . jaf iwassal ghal tragedja.

 

Fl-1998 Francis Zammit Dimech li kien responsabbli mill-ambjent qal li kien ser inaddaf lil Malta fi zmien xahrejn. Ghaddiet legislatura shiha ta' hames snin u dan it-tindif baqa ma sarx. Jiddispjacini ghal Zammit Dimech imma ser ikollna nibqghu infakkruhilu din.

 

F'Lulju 1999 il-Greenpeace ikkritikat lill-Gvern u The Times qaltilna, “Greenpeace Mediterranean outraged at the government’s clear dismissiveness of any consultation on a waste management strategy.” Issa l-Greenpeace mhux xi ghaqda li tarmiha. Min hu midhla tal-ambjent dinji jaf xi tfisser il-Greenpeace.

 

F'Awwissu 1999, On The Dot ta' The Times ried idahhakna meta qal, “the government is utterly inefficient in dealing with the dirt problem. The minister responsible for public cleansing should resign.” U issa ma tarax li l-ministru mhux ser jirrizenja. Anke jekk Malta ma tistax titqammel aktar, l-ebda ministru m'hu ser jitlaq.

 

F'Settembru 1999, il-Birdlife Malta giet ikkwotata minn The Times li qalet li l-gvern kien qieghed juri apatija meta jasal biex japplika u jinforza r-regolamenti tal-kacca.

 

Fi Frar tal-2000 il-Ministru tat-Turizmu Michael Refalo kien qal li jaccetta l-kritika dwar it-toroq dizastruzi specjalment dawk vicin lukandi 5 star. Allura? Sar xi haga b'daqshekk? Mhux imharbtin ghadhom? Il-poplu fatti jrid mhux paroli.

 

F'Mejju 2000, The Malta Independent on Sunday qaltilna, “it is obvious that today the main focus of criticism on the terrible state of the environment should be targeted at the government.” U hekk qed naghmel f'din il-pagna.

 

U f'Settembru 2000, The Times qaltilna, “the prime minister has not offered any solutions to this major (environmental) problem facing the country and seems to be adopting a defeatist attitude.” Nahseb kulhadd kellu ghajnejh f'wiccu biex jara li l-Gvern ceda u halla s-sitwazzjoni tahrablu minn idejh.

 

Is-sena 2001 imbaghad kienet ikkaratterizzata minn hrug ta' drenagg madwar il-kosta Maltija. The Malta Independent on Sunday f'Lulju rrapurtat, “widespread sea pollution around the country.” U f'Awwissu The Malta Independent qaltilna, “spills of sewage around the islands.” Marsaxlokk qalaha wkoll ghax fl-istess xahar The Times qaltilna, “sewage ruins Marsaxlokk day on market Sunday.”

 

U nibqghu f'Awwissu u f'rapport fil-gazzetta Malta Today qrajna li, “asthma and other respiratory conditions among the people of Fgura and Zejtun are among the highest in the world and it is environmentally linked.” Mhux aktar l-ambjent jidher ikrah biss imma qieghed imarrad lin-nies ukoll. The Malta Independent on Sunday kompliet, “bad state of the environment in Malta

 

Imbaghad f'Settembru 2001 editorjal ta' The Times kellu jammetti, “let’s face it, we must be one of the dirtiest countries in the world.” Kieku jien kont inzid bicca u nghid . . . and we have one of the most incompetent Governments ever to run a country. Ovvjament din it-tieni sentenza The Times ma kitbithiex.

 

Kulhadd jaf bil-progett kbir ta' Bugibba tal-gvern Laburista. Kulhadd jaf ukoll kemm tjieb l-ambjent fl-inhawi, kien tibdil mill-qiegh. Sfortunatament telghu n-Nazzjonalisti u Bugibba abbandunawha. F'Ottubru 2001 kiteb Winston Zahra (Managing Director tal-Islands Group) u qal, “why Bugibba seafront is left to rot is beyond my comprehension.” Kellu ragun, ma taghmilx sens li tabbanduna progett bhal dak, forsi minhabba l-ghira ghax il-progett sar minn Gvern Laburista?

 

F'Dicembru 2001 kelna aktar drenagg ifur din id-darba f'Wied Incita.

 

Forsi jkun hemm minn jghid li jien qieghed nikritika l-Gvern fuq l-ambjent ghax jien Laburist. Mela tridx naraw x'qal membru parlamentari Nazzjonalista? Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando F'Marzu 2002 gie kkwotat minn The Times li qal, “we have completely ignored and neglected our environment, nothing is being done on a practical basis.” Dan wiehed minn ta' gewwa tafux u mhux xi ufficcjal tal-MLP!!!

 

Mela rajna li l-Gvern Nazzjonalista waqqaf progetti mibdija minn Gvern Laburista u gieli qal li m'hemmx flus. Skuza tajba din, fejn iridu m'hemmx flus. Kemm tahsbu li nefaq il-Ministeru ghall-Ambjent fl-2001 FUQ KONSULENTI? Nerga nirrepeti, fuq konsulenti biss. Mela fil-waqt li n-Nazzjonalisti ma kellhomx flus ghal progetti, imma fuq konsulenti hallsu s-somma enormi ta' Lm737,092 fis-sena 2001 biss. X'misthija!!!

 

Imbaghad il-Gvern iddecieda li jorbot il-Ministeru ghall-Ambjent mall-MEPA (Planning Authority qabel). The Malta Independent on Sunday qaltilna ghaliex din id-decizjoni kienet zbaljata. “the result of this merger means that in effect Malta is to be without a minister or ministry for the environment. Given the state of the environment in Malta today, this is not good news... The government should reconsider its decision.”

 

Fi Frar 2002 il-President Ezekuttiv ta' Din l-Art Helwa qal, “Malta’s pollution, rampant construction, illegality and neglect have now reached crisis proportions.” Kien hemm xi rizenja jew tkeccija minhabba din il-krizi fil-pajjiz?

 

F'April 2002, The Malta Independent taghtna rigal sabih. Ritratti li juru l-mizbliet kullimkien madwar Malta taht it-titlu Malta One Big Dump.

 

F'Gunju 2002, The Times qaltilna li, “the outright shabiness in so many places is unbelievable.”

 

U d-dahla ghal-belt? Il-poplu kollu jaf x'dizastru ghandna qisek diehel go xi suq f'pajjiz Gharbi u mhux diehel fil-belt kapitali ta' Malta, gawhra imprezzabbli. Qisna rrassenjana ruhna ghal din it-telqa u dehera kerha, donnu rridu nghixu b'din il-gerha minghajr qatt ma tfieq. Ma ninsewx pero li l-progett tal-belt kien diga mhejji minn Gvern Laburista inkluz il-bini fejn hemm it-tejatru mwaqqa. Imma l-MLP tilef l-elezzjoni tal-1998 u kollox thalla ghal rihu. Intant The Times f'editorjal f'Lulju 2002 qaltilna dak li ilna nafu, “… it is not so easy to accept any longer the shabiness of the entrance both outside the hideous ‘stone gate’ and inside it. … it does not take much money to do something about the entrance. … doesn't anyone in government realise that those (opera house) ruins make us the laughing stock of tourists visiting Valletta? … it was a mistake to build the present city gate in 1960 and everybody said so at the time… who will remove the first stone, so we can carve his name in marble? …  the fact is that  the city entrance puts us all to shame. It gives Valletta and Malta a very bad image. Yet the government keeps postponing giving the site the radical clean-up it badly needs. Why?.” Ippermettuli naghmel rimarka lil The Times. Li kieku baqa l-gvern Laburista kieku t-tejatru diga tlesta u d-dahla tal-belt illum hija kompletament differenti. Ghalhekk jekk joghgobkom mhux kulhadd ghandu jisthi mill-istat tad-dahla tal-belt, ghandu jisthi l-gvern li abbanduna l-progett.

 

F'Lulju 2002, Dr. Zammit Dimech kompla jdahhak. The Times irrapurtatu li qal, “the government’s message was that it was committed to cleaning every corner of the islands.” Araw naqra x'vilta ta' kliem! Il-hin kollu jghadduna biz-zmien.

 

L-ghada stess, The Times donnha biex iggibu f'sensih qalet, “the environment … one glaring failure on the part of the government.”

 

Inkomplu fuq id-drenagg din id-darba f'Marsamxett. The Times f'Awwissu 2002 habbret, “sewage seeps into the sea for months at Marsamxett harbour in Valletta.” Immaginaw kemm hadu gost it-turisti li jkunu waqt harbour cruise.

 

Nigu ghal-bahar. The Malta Independent f'Awwissu habbret, “an unpublished government-commissioned environment report shows that Malta’s bathing water is becoming more polluted, contrary to official government declerations.” Ovvjament il-Gvern jghid bil-maqlub. U min ibaghti? Il-Maltin u t-turisti li jmorru jghumu. Tiftakru f'dak il-ministru li mar jghum biex juri li l-bahar hu nadif. Ghaliex m'ghadiex issir din il-“prova”?

 

F'Settembru 2002 The Times qalet, “why does traffic belch heavy smoke everywhere – but everywhere with impunity. There must be a reason for the police and wardens to be so helpless in this area. Lack of will somewhere at the top? . . .there is also need on the government’s part to concentrate more (on environment) action than on rhetoric.” Jahasra The Times qed tghazaq fl-ilma!!

 

Inkredibbli kienet l-ahbar li harget f'Ottubru 2002 li tghid li kien hemm aktar minn 60 scrapyard joperaw minghajr licenzja. Issa scrapyard mhux xi oggett zghir u zgur li fi gzira zghira li jkollok aktar minn 60 scrapyard illegali hija tal-misthija.

 

It-turisti kemm il-darba lmentaw dwar li Malta hija post ta' kostruzzjoni kontinwa. Ma taghtihomx tort, kullimkien bit-trab, gebel, terrapien ecc. Is-sidien tal-lukandi jafu sew b'din il-problema ghax regolarment jaslulhom ilmenti dwar dan.

 

Meta ittiehdet id-decizjoni li tinbena dar tal-anzjani fil-Mellieha fl-2003 kien jidher car li l-post ma kienx addattat. Il-MEPA f'mument rari ta' qawmien ambjentali kienet qalet minghajr tlaqlieq li l-post fejn kellha tinbena d-dar kienet zona ekologikament sensittiva ghall-ahhar. Allura ghalfejn intghazel dak il-post ezatt?

 

F'Lulju 2003, il-President ezekuttiv ta' Din l-Art Helwa ghamel rimarka li ghalija hija wahda mill-aktar iebsin imma li turi l-verita tal-fatti f'din il-gawhra ta' pajjiz li ghandna. Martin Scicluna qal, “sadly, this administration has been comatose in its whole treatment of the environment.”

 

Kellna l-President tar-Repubblika li f'Awwissu 2003 zar il-forti Sant Iermu l-belt u ma ghaggeb lil hadd meta The Times ikkwotatu li qal li l-post hu “a national embarrassment and a national disaster”.

 

F'editorjal jahraq u canfira wahda lill-Gvern Nazzjonalista, The Times f'Awwissu 2003 kienet qalet, “rather than telling us that ‘the country needs to be kept in the clean state it deserves’ it would have been more proper had he (Ninu Zammit) on behalf of himself and of his government, first apologised to the full for neglecting their duty of seeing to the island’s urgent environmental needs.” Inthom smajtu b'xi apologija? U l-anqas ser tisimghuha!!

 

The Gozo Times f'Awwissu 2003 gibdet l-attenzjoni dwar id-drenagg f'Ghawdex meta qalet, “raw sewage continues to be pumped from an outfall into the sea close to one of Gozo’s most beautiful beaches, San Blas in spite of promises by the government to eliminate this environmental problem by the beginning of summer.” Kif diga ghidt li weghdiet biss saru u jkun hemm min jemminhom dawn il-weghdiet!!

 

Imbaghad xi nghidu ghal-bravura tal-Gvern Nazzjonalista li jaghmel zewg mizbliet hdejn it-tempji tal-Imnajdra u Hagar Qim? Mhux ta' b'xejn in-nies tal-inhawi qamu fuq taghhom dwar din id-decizjoni zbaljata. U meta jkollok membru parlamentari Nazzjonalista wkoll johrog qatta bla habel kontra din il-mizura oxxena bilfors tistaqsi lilek innifsek, “imma l-Gvern Nazzjonalista jrid jeqred l-ambjent?” U kemm ghaqdiet hargu kontra din id-decizjoni? Meta l-Greenpeace indahlet ukoll, il-kaz sar wiehed internazzjonali. U ma jistax ma jkunx wiehed internazzjonali ghax dawn it-tempji huma wirt storiku dinji imprezzabbli. U fil-waqt li l-Gvern jeqred li m'ghandux flus ghas-servizzi tas-sahha, penzjonijiet ecc, biex jiprepara barriera wahda biss biex jaghmilha mizbla tafu kemm irid ihallas . . . MILJUN LIRA. U din ghal barriera wahda biss. Hemm alternattiva? Dazgur li hemm. Il-vici president u chief scientist ta’ Solena Group, Dennis F. Miller kiteb lil Dr. Sant dwar alternattiva ghal mizbliet li l-Gvern ried jaghmel il-Qrendi, liema alternattiva il-Gvern qieghed jinjora.  Fost affarijiet ohra, Miller qal, “The purpose of this letter is to let you know that there is a viable option to your current situation, which in fact will eliminate the need for most landfilling and at the same time generate revenue for Malta. The Solena Group Inc. has developed a unique solution for the disposal of organic waste materials such as hospital waste, industrial waste, ship waste and even sewage sludge. The Solena Plasma Gasification process is both environmentally benign, cost effective and produces green renewable electric energy from these wastes.” (ara The Times 15.8.2003)

 

F'Settembru 2003, The Times iddeskriviet dak li qieghed ihoss il-poplu. Qalet, “what has led to so much discontent this summer – far more than in any other summer – is the sheer neglect of the environment, something that is quite visible to all.” Hekk hu, telqa totali . . . kullimkien.

 

F'Settembru wkoll, The Malta Independent irrapurtat dwar is-sitwazzjoni fl-inhawi taz-zona industrijali ta' Kordin. Qalet, “Several companies operating out of the Corradino Industrial Estate have voiced their complaints about the shabby state of their estate, to the extent that they are embarrassed to host foreign clients at their factories. They said the estate was in dire need of a facelift, with vegetation five feet high, rubbish deposited outside skips and also a car abandoned in the area since February. . . . representatives of various companies operating out of the industrial estate said that the area has not been cleaned for several months, adding that they are embarrassed to bring foreigners to the area.” X'taghmel? Tibki? Tidhak? Imbaghad il-Gvern jghidlek li mhux facli jgib investiment barrani.

 

Tiftakruh il-kaz tal-vapur Norvegiz Kronviken? Il-Greenpeace kienet qalet li kien tnehha materjal TOSSIKU minn fuq dan il-vapur. Tafu fejn tefghuh? F'ghalqa f'Kordin.

 

F'Settembru 2003, waqt mass meeting fuq il-Fosos, Dr. Fenech Adami kien qal, “Hu facli hafna li wiehed jindividwa l-problemi ambjentali u jitkellem dwar kemm hemm bzonn li jsiru affarijiet biex dan isir ahjar izda kulhadd jehtieg jifhem li l-Gvern ikollu jimxi bil-prijoritajiet tieghu.” Din ammissjoni cara daqs il-kristall li minkejja l-problema enormi ambjentali li ghandna, il-Gvern Nazzjonalista ma jhossx li ghandu jaghti prijorita lill-ambjent. U min ibaghti? Il-poplu kollu Laburisti u Nazzjonalisti, kulhadd.

 

Fl-2003 sar stharrig mill-MHRA (Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association) fost it-turisti. Irrizulta li 160,000 turist ikkritikaw l-ambjent. Mhux wiehed u tnejn ilmentaw imma 160,000!!!! Araw x'riklam ghandha Malta mad-dinja.

 

Tridu certifikat tal-inkompetenza tal-Gvern fuq l-ambjent. Bhas-soltu inhalli f'idejn in-Nazzjonalisti stess. The Times qaltilna, “Last summer was perhaps one of the worst we had for many, many years in terms of the sheer environmental neglect so evident throughout the island. But the government did not seem to be in any mood to take notice of the harsh criticism levelled at it from all quarters.” Irrizenja xi hadd? Tkecca xi hadd? Sajf Malti 2003 mimli hmieg.

 

Wara l-budget ghas-sena 2004, il-Greenpeace Mediterranean qalet, “The budget lacks true commitment to the environment.”

 

F'Mejju imbaghad kien imiss lil Dr. Arnold Cassola li qal, “Malta was gradually losing ground as a tourist destination mostly because of the island's shabbiness, poor state of the roads, and high cranes and rattling jackhammers which have transformed tourist spots into permanent construction sites.” (ara The Times 19.5.2004).

 

F'Gunju 2004, r-residenti ta' Triq Qanpiena f'Birkirkara lmentaw ma' The Malta Independent hekk, “Residents living in Qanpiena Street, Birkirkara, have complained to The Malta Independent about the state of their street, saying it is like living in a "second Maghtab.”

 

F'Lulju 2004 kellna konferma ohra tal-apatija tal-Gvern Nazzjonalista. “To all intents and purposes, it does look as if the government is either blind to the general environment situation or is absolutely incapable of dealing with it. How else can one explain the sheer neglect so evident in so many public places?” Dan kien editorjal tat-2 ta' Lulju.

 

“If anyone is to blame for the sorry state of Malta's environment it is this administration which has overall mismanaged Malta's environment for the last 17 years.” – Arthur Muscat, President tal-Malta Employers' Association, The Times 29.7.2004

 

Fis-27 ta' Lulju il-Malta Employers Association qalet, “the government had no coherent environmental policy.” – The Times 27.7.2004

 

F'Lulju wkoll, ezattament fis-16 tax-xahar, The Times kompliet dwar ir-raqda tal-Gvern, “The sheer inability of the government to tackle the problem of keeping the island clean.” qalet fl-editorjal.

 

U fl-1 t'Awwissu The Malta Independent on Sunday taghtna twissija, “The country's environment is now a big problem which affects (not can affect, but is already affecting) our own health, the way the country looks and the way it is perceived by its own residents and by its visitors.”

 

L-istat tal-ambjent vicin il-Hilton f’Dicembru rrapurtat minn The Malta Independent on Sunday: “The garden in front of the Hilton is in a disastrous state. The Hilton owners started discussions to clean up and maintain the place, imposing just one condition – that the place be closed after 11 o’clock at night. The discussions have been bogged down for over a year and in the meantime locals and tourists alike are seeing the fracas every night…”

 

U Tumas Group jghidu, “entrepreneurs in Malta have to beg and plead with the authorities, usually the ministers, to do anything to improve the surrounding environment.”

 

F’Gunju 2005 kien imiss lil Din l-Art Helwa li permezz tal-President Ezekuttiv taghha qalet, “Malta is one major environmental disaster.” Dan thabbar minn The Times tas-6 tax-xahar.

 

F’rapport inkwetanti ferm fil-Malta Today sirna nafu li wara li l-Maghtab “inghalqet”, qeghda tizdied il-hazna ta’ materjal tossiku madwar il-pajjiz. Fejn qabel dan il-materjal kien imur f’post wiehed, issa dan il-materjal perikoluz qieghed jinzamm f’diversi zoni ta’ Malta. Il-Malta Drydocks qeghda zzomm dan il-materjal tossiku fil-port, l-Oiltanking Malta qeghdha tahzen il-materjal taghha fil-Freeport. It-Toly Products wkoll ghandha hazna ta’ dan it-tip ta’ materjal u wiehed jassumi li qieghed jinzamm fiz-zona tal-fabbrika.

 

F’Settembru 2005, The Times f’wiehed mill-editorjali taghha kkonfermat, “the island today is dirty and looks as scruffy as ever. … It is simply a disgrace that the country's environment has been allowed to deteriorate at such a rapid rate. … the situation is getting worse than ever.”

 

Fi Frar 2006 hareg rapport jismu The State of the Environment Report 2005. Di-ve news taghtna fuq fuq dettalji inkwetanti li hargu minn dan ir-rapport. “Soil in many parts of the Maltese islands is contaminated by heavy metals, found to be present in quantities exceeding safe levels. … “The highest contamination is of lead in soil, where according to the report, three per cent of soils are above the 100 mg per kg threshold for Copper and seven per cent are higher than the 200 mg per kg limit established for Zinc. High level contamination of soil by heavy metals can cause a loss of soil functions, with the result that contaminated soils would support less plant life making crops less productive. The presence of such heavy metals in soil is not only worrying from the agricultural point of view, since some vegetables are negatively affected by such heavy metals but is of grave concern from the health point of view for humans. …”

 

F’Marzu 2006, il-kwistjoni tal-fish farms li l-gvern ried li jitpoggew f’Wied il-Ghajn waslet biex anke l-GRTU tohrog kontra dan il-pjan, “The General Retailers and Traders Union (GRTU) has urged the Government to withdraw the proposal for the relocation of fish-farms in the sea off Marsascala, saying that this project does not make sense economically or environmentally.” L-ahbar ta’ di-ve news tas-6  ta’ Marzu.

 

Nibqghu f’Marzu fejn Daphne Caruana Galizia f’artiklu taghha f’The Malta Independent qalet, “The streets are still dirty, the roads are worse than they ever were (but not as bad as they will be next year), nothing works as it should, roads and squares are ripped up in the core of the larger towns, causing chaos for weeks if not months, the rubbish collection system is less efficient than it was 15 years ago, the flowering plants so enthusiastically put down in the early years have long since withered and died.”

 

Wara li l-Gvern Nazzjonalista iddecieda li ma jwaqqafx il-kacca fir-rebbiegha, The Times ghamlet stharrig online li wera: “More than 80 per cent of the respondents to a The Times online poll, do not agree with the government's decision to allow spring hunting to go on. The poll, which lasted nearly three days, asked: "Do you agree with the decision not to ban spring hunting given the bird flu scare?" A total 83.15 per cent of respondents said they did not agree with the decision and the remainder said they did. Those who did not agree with the decision included hunters.”

 

Fil-bidu t’April imbaghad qrajna rapport ta’ The Times li kkwota studju li sar dwar il-kwalita tal-arja f’Malta. L-istudju jismu Fine Dust Emissions From Soft Stone Quarrying In Malta u li qal fost affarijiet ohra: “Harmful fine dust particles produced by soft stone quarries amounts to at least 1,200 tonnes a year … This works out roughly at a two-litre bottle full of what is technically known as particulate matter (PM10) for every person living in Malta annually. … Fine dust particles are a major component of air pollution that threatens both health and the environment as it is among the most harmful of all air pollutants. When inhaled, these particles evade the respiratory system's natural defences and lodge deep in the lungs. … the fine dust emission rate from the 67 active soft stone quarries stood at 11,500 milligrammes per square metre a day. The international guideline ranges between 100-300 milligrammes per square metre a day - meaning that, at best, the emission measured was 38 times more than the highest international recommended level.”

 

Fl-10 ta’ Gunju 2006 saret protesta il-belt favur l-ambjent minn numru kbir ta’ ghaqdiet. Kien hemm ukoll rapprezentanti tal-PN fil-protesta. Ezattament xi jrid ikun rapprezentat jaghmel il-PN f’din il-protesta? L-istess PN li fil-gvern kisser l-ambjent bl-addocc. Li l-PN jiehu sehem fi protesta favur l-ambjent ftit zmien wara li l-Gvern Nazzjonalista habbar tkabbir enormi taz-zoni ghall-izvilupp ma taghmilx sens. Il-wicc tost tal-PN m’ghandux limitu, l-ewwel ihassar l-ambjent imbaghad jipprotesta kontra l-qirda tal-istess ambjent. X’vilta!! X’wicc tost!!

 

Fl-istess jum, The Times habbret li skond rapport mahrug fi Brussel, il-maggoranza tal-bajjiet fis-sajf tal-2005 ma kienux tal-livell ta’ ndafa tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

 

F’Ottubru imbaghad faqqa l-iskandlu dwar il-kaccaturi fejn wara li xi kaccaturi ghamlu protesta quddiem Kastilja, harget ordni lill-pulizija biex meta jaqbdu lil xi hadd jikser il-ligi tal-kacca ma jiehdux passi imma jiehdu nota ta’ dak li jkun gara.  Dan l-iskandu gab l-ghadab ta’ hafna. Nibdew bil-Birdlife Malta li The Times irrapurtat hekk, “BirdLife Malta is outraged at the fact that the police were given instructions to temporarily refrain from taking legal action against hunters, which effectively puts the Birds Directive “on hold”. An internal memorandum signed by the Administrative Law Enforcement inspector, seen by The Times, instructs officers to file a report but not to immediately arraign individuals who trap quails, golden plovers, turtle doves and thrushes. The police are also instructed to issue no charges against those hunting at sea with engines capable of developing speeds higher than 18 km/hour. According to BirdLife, both these instructions go against the EU directive, which places restrictions on hunting and trapping to maintain the populations of wild birds at levels determined by ecological, scientific and cultural requirements. The memo was issued last Saturday, on the same day a group of hunters gathered outside the Prime Minister's office at Castille Place, Valletta to protest against “restrictions” imposed on them by the government. The police have further been instructed not to take immediate action against those using trapping nets exceeding the measurements published in Legal Notice 79 of 2006. Besides, no infringement proceedings will be taken against those using shotguns with chambers capable of taking more than two cartridges.” The Times ukoll wriet il-fehma taghha dwar dan l-iskandlu meta fid-9 t’Ottubru qalet, “One would have thought that law enforcement agencies are there to ensure everybody respects the laws and regulations. It is not their duty or responsibility either to interpret the law or to sit and wait for the outcome if society in general or a particular section of it presses for any legislative changes. If they did so it would be a serious dereliction of their duties and they would therefore become liable to legal action themselves. To say nothing of the credibility they would be losing among law-abiding citizens in the process. The memo issued just over a week ago by the inspector in charge of the police administrative law enforcement unit and, evidently, endorsed by the Commissioner of Police himself, has rightly raised eyebrows, given the above. It instructs officers to file a report, but not charges as yet, against hunters and trappers caught contravening certain sections of the hunting law. This is not about hunting/trapping practices or irresponsible hunters/trappers. This is about the rule of law. It is about good governance. About the authorities transmitting the right messages to society, foremost of which is that, before the law, everyone is equal. The controversial memo opens a can of worms; it sends the wrong signal that some may be more equal than others; that the government may be strong with the weak and weak with the strong; that the law of the land can be put in deep freeze if that means not annoying a sizeable section of the population, though still a minority, just months prior to a general election. What a shame! What a circus! The comments made by Police Commissioner John Rizzo about the memo are at best pathetic, at worst dangerous. … The authorities have long been found wanting when it comes to the enforcement of laws and regulations. This latest move crowns the lot. … one may be justified in immediately ruling out that it was the police who wanted it. Neither could it have been the Environment Ministry, which knows exactly what Malta's responsibilities are in terms of the Birds Directives and other international commitments. In addition, it is an open secret both within Europe and beyond that environment ministries are usually at the mercy of other more powerful ministries in the government set-up. The buck stops at the Prime Minister's desk. After all, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi likes repeating that he does not mind taking tough decisions. Was this one of them? And what does the Nationalist Party think about this latest move that can only serve to further erode the blind confidence the public had in it, especially after the development zones restructuring debacle? Was this another faux pas by some so-called party strategist/s, just like when it was decided to pull out of two local council elections in an evident damage control move?”

 

The Times kompliet fis-17 t’Ottubru hekk, “To err is human but to persist in error is diabolical. And that is what the government is doing with regard to the police memo issued a few days ago instructing officers to file a report but not press charges as yet against hunters and trappers caught contravening certain sections of the hunting law. One can only wonder whether the government, which says it believes so much in consultation and the dissemination of information, would have ever informed the public about this latest unexplainable move had The Times not published the news. The way both the government - through the Office of the Prime Minister - and the Nationalist Party in power - through the office of its general secretary - have reacted to approaches by The Times indicate they would rather the memo had remained a confidential matter. … The Times newsroom followed up the story and contacted the Office of the Prime Minister, the police and the three political forces, that is, the PN, the Labour Party and Alternattiva Demokratika. The reaction by the Office of the Prime Minister, the police and the PN was as obscure as the memo itself. Questions sent to the police unsurprisingly remained unanswered. One is justified in translating that as meaning: What has been said has been said. The rest is beyond us. Efforts to speak to the PN general secretary proved futile. It is evident he preferred to remain mum. … the police may not have been told not to uphold the law or not to book defaulters. They were, however, ordered to take note and sit and wait. Is this the PN's new style of government? … Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who, it must be said, has had to face an uphill battle ever since he took the helm of the party and the country, needs to take the bull by the horns when the going gets tough. Dr Gonzi surely realises that real power comes from the people and not from those around him, whether on the Cabinet table or at Pietà.”

 

Fi Frar 2007, Dr. Harry Vassallo ma felahx izjed. Kiteb, “Vote George get Lorry? Lorry Sant was a pathetic wimp compared to George. Lorry Sant only engineered the destruction of Tower Road. George has given the go-ahead to Armageddon. Tigné residents are still trying to get their heads around it. "How can any politician be so stupid?" they ask themselves. … The outrage being perpetrated in Tigné is so enormous that people are stunned. … The present ongoing rape of Malta is unlike anything we have ever witnessed before. … Today things have gone from bad to worse and this is crystal clear to everybody.”

 

F’Awwissu 2007, The Malta Independent on Sunday qalet, “There is neglect all over the place, beginning at City Gate and ending anywhere you want. There could be a constituency waiting out there for a no nonsense government that brings law and order back, and which brings back some pride to a downtrodden country and people.”

 

Imbaghad f’Ottubru 2007 il-GRTU kixfet l-apatija tal-Gvern biex ihares l-ambjent tal-belt Valletta. The Malta Independent irrapurtat hekk, “The GRTU, Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises yesterday appealed to the Prime Minister to seriously ensure a clean up of the capital and call a halt “to the farce” which the city built by gentlemen for gentlemen has been turned into, making all visitors who go there wonder in amazement. And the Prime Minister, the GRTU said in a searing statement, needs to use the whip – those who are responsible and were pulling the people’s leg should be removed. … The GRTU said Valletta ridicules the government’s entire policy because it is a show of incompetence, carelessness and neglect. Those going to the capital daily know what a farce the capital has been reduced to. It is a city of shame and it was as if no one was responsible, no one resigned, and no one was sacked, the GRTU said.”

 

Fl-istess xahar, hareg Carmel Cacopardo ex Ufficjal tal-Partit Nazzjonalista li ma qadx idur mal-lewza. F’The Times kiteb, “Vision statements are not realistic when they relegate the environment to an add-on. This is what the PN document does notwithstanding the inclusion of the word “environment” in its title. The PN vision is hence squinted. It needs to be substantially revised and realigned with environmental values. Only then will talking of achieving excellence make sense.”

 

F’Novembru, The Times irrapurtat lill-Alternattiva; Alternattiva Demokratika has blamed the government for the environmental damage that is being caused by the Red Palm Weevil, which attacks palm trees. … “Alternattiva Demokratika cannot but put the blame on the government for the way it is handling afforestation and tree protection in the Maltese Islands, without any policy and without any strategy whatsoever. If one looks at government projects, one cannot but notice the great percentage of imported trees that are being planted. And imported trees carry the potential for disease and the introduction of new species to the Maltese Islands, as in the case of the Red Palm Weevil.”

 

F’Dicembru, The Times irrapurtat lid-Deputat Parlamentari Nazzjonalista Franco Galea li fil-parlament iddeskriva s-sit tal-White Rocks b’mod car hafna. “The prime site White Rocks complex has become a prime dump that presents a danger to families who go there for walks and barbeques, Nationalist MP Franco Galea has told Parliament. Speaking in an adjournment speech late on Wednesday, he said the White Rocks complex was not so white any longer as several parts had been blackened by fire. He was concerned, Mr Galea said, about the way how children were being allowed to play in ruins which were clearly dangerous, among drug syringes and rusting washing machines, not to mention what went on in the cars. “As far as I know, according to law, property owners have to close off their properties, especially when they are dangerous. So why is the state not enforcing its own rules? The way the White Rocks complex has been turned into a dump is unacceptable... there are rats everywhere, as well as dead animals and all sort of rubbish, and yet people go there for their walks in a dangerous and dirty environment.” Mr Galea said he had gone to the complex and would have fallen a height of one storey from what seemed to have been a bridge had he not been careful. He could only imagine the danger posed to children intent only on chasing each other. This, Mr Galea said, was a tragedy waiting to happen and those responsible needed to act with urgency. He hoped that another prime site, Hal Ferh, would not be allowed to deteriorate to the state of the White Rocks complex. But a danger close to Hal Ferh already existed at the former Riviera Martinque Hotel, overlooking Ghajn Tuffieha Bay, Mr Galea said. Although most of the building was closed, there were parts of the crumbling structure that were open and he had seen children playing there. Stones were also rolling down to the stairs leading to the bay. Malta, he stressed, could not have laws without effective enforcement, especially when there was a clear and present danger. The Nationalist MP said he was also worried about dangerous swings in children's playgrounds. In some localities the seat of these swings was made of metal which could kill any child that was hit. The Malta Standards Authority should set standards in this area. The very location of some playgrounds posed a danger. At Pembroke there was a road which overlooked a playground. The absence of a crash barrier meant that in the event of an accident, a car could come crashing down onto the playground. He had lobbied the council, from within and outside, but unfortunately nothing had been done yet. But there was a bigger danger in St Julians where a playground was sandwiched by two main roads with a bridge overhead. The government needed to intervene in such cases to eliminate danger, Mr Galea said.”

 

Nigu issa ghas-sena 2008. Ma domnix wisq nistennew rapporti li jikkonfermaw l-apatija tal-Gvern Nazzjonalista dwar l-ambjent. Fit-23 ta’ Jannar di-ve news irraporta x’qal il-Kunsill Lokali tal-Floriana, “The Floriana Local Council has on Wednesday expressed its disappointment over the current state of the Mall gardens, which six months after being smartened is in a state of total neglect. It condemned the fact that after a few days from the inauguration of the project, parts of the gardens’ lightning started to go off, and now all the garden has been in total darkness for weeks. Furthermore, the Local Council said that only a few flowers and plants have been planted in the garden, only in view of the inauguration ceremony, and since then nothing else has been planted.” Kollox ta’ kafkaf, igri w’gerri ghac-cerimonji imbaghad jithalla kollox ghal riehu.

 

Imbaghad f’Lulju The Times irrapurtat lill-Kummissjoni Ewropea hekk, “Malta has broken more environment rules than any other new EU member state, according to a report card issued yesterday by the European Commission. Brussels is not at all pleased with the way the environment is being handled by Malta and is expecting various initiatives to be taken in order to come closer to EU standards. The report analyses the country's progress on environment policy in 2007. It shows Malta is a laggard on a number of counts including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, measures on climate change, halting biodiversity and recycling of waste. Until the end of last year, Malta was facing the highest number of infringement procedures for breaking EU environmental rules among the 12 new EU member states. Half of the infringements (12 out of 26) related to air legislation.”

 

Xahar wara, f’Awwissu, l-istess The Times qalet, “Good money is spent on advertising but not enough attention has been paid to tackle the rampant neglect so evident in many areas all over the island.”

 

U issa jmiss is-sena 2009. MaltaToday tal-1 ta' Frar habbret, “A staggering 1.25 million tonnes of construction waste has been dumped in an offshore “spoil ground” located northeast of Valletta harbour since 2003. This could be only a fraction of the amount of waste deposited in the same site in the past decades, because the Malta Environmental and Planning Authority has no statistics to show how much construction waste was dumped on the seabed before 2002. Nor has it conducted any environmental impact studies before allowing the disposal of this massive amount of waste in the veritable ‘underwater Maghtab’.

 

F’Novembru imbaghad, The Times kixfet sors iehor ta’ tniggiz ambjentali … duhhan mhux iffiltrat mill-power station tal-Marsa. Kitbet hekk, “A boiler at the Marsa power station was pumping unfiltered emissions into the sky for seven months after its filtering system was switched off, The Times has learnt. The air filters, called electrostatic precipitators, at the ageing power plant were turned off on one of the boilers for “operational reasons” between March and October, a spokesman for the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (Mepa) confirmed. Now, the precipitators have been switched back on. However, when they are off, emissions are discharged without being filtered. The March to October period coincides with a rise in complaints from residents in the Fgura area over black dust deposited on rooftops, balconies and cars.”

 

F’Mejju 2010, The Malta Independent tal-11 tax-xahar irrapurtat, “Shattered glass, broken bins, bent road signs, vandalised parapets… this is the scene that greets you if you happen to be walking through Paceville after the weekend. These acts of vandalism must stop, said St Julian’s mayor Peter Bonello, but this can only be achieved by means of more surveillance and a bigger police presence. Mr Bonello said he will be asking for more police officers to patrol the area during the busy summer months, in a bid to control what he referred to as some people’s savage behaviour. “The acts of vandalism are beyond belief. And the local council ends up using a large chunk of its limited budget on repairs. “Besides, the poor residents have to bear the brunt of vandalised parapets and excessive noise, such as honking horns late at night, not to mention that during the weekend it is just as if they’re living in prison since they have to avoid moving their cars out of fear they won’t find a parking spot when they return home.”

 

F’Jannar 2012, Robert Arrigo, deputat Nazzjonalista were kemm il-MEPA ghandha ghal qalbha l-ambjent. Kiteb hekk f’ The Malta Independent, “It was a rape of three streets in St Julian’s, of virgin residential homes that, thanks to Mepa, have had their lives ruined. Mepa does not stand any more to safeguard what is correct. You must see the body language, how uncomfortable these persons were when pronouncing the rape of streets in St Julian’s. They should feel ashamed and resign, such was their arrogance. Ruining peoples’ lives and getting it stamped by Mepa, is evil. Pushing the standard of people’s lives down, ruining their comfort they strove to attain, probably downing their property value, surely rests on three shameful shoulders.”

 

F’Awwissu, The Times ippublikat parti minn rapport li jwahhax. Qalet, “Levels of a pollutant dust around Gżira primary school exceeded the EU limit 224 times, according to a report released yesterday. Data revealed that nearby residents also suffered as air monitoring figures from a private home in Gżira showed the limit was exceeded by 241 times, while a residence in Sliema Road was 112 times above the EU limit.”

 

Ftit granet wara, l-istess The Times habret, “Malta is nearly at the bottom of an EU scoreboard assessing the management of municipal waste, ranking 25 out of 27.”

 

 

 

Int x'tahseb?

Pika bla sens

Araw safejn twassal il-pika politika Nazzjonalista.

 

The picnic site at Wied il-Qlejgha, close to Chadwick Lakes, situated at the beginning of a countryside walk, is in a terrible state. What was once an area cut off from the hustle and bustle of town life, where one could relax on wooden benches and enjoy a snack, is now overgrown with wild vegetation and littered with rubbish. The colourful information board headed Progett ghar-Riabilitazzjoni ta' Wied Qlejgha u l-Fiddien explains the joys of rambling along Wied Qlejgha and carries information about the endemic trees found along this country walk. The wooden frame holding the information board - like the rest of the street furniture in the area - could do with a coating of varnish. The picnic site formed part of a project started by the last Labour government to rebuild rubble walls along the Chadwick Lakes to shore up the sides of the valley. The walls are held together by means of gabions. But the project was abandoned after the 1998 general election, when the MLP was returned to opposition, and some of the walls remain unbuilt. Rambler Lino Bugeja said he was disgusted to find that the area had been abandoned and left in such a pitiful state. "The country is passing through a lean period in tourism and yet the tourist product is being allowed to fall into such disrepair. "Is it possible that the Tourism Ministry and the Ministry of Rural Affairs and Environment do not realise that visitors to these shores who come across such a poorly kept site will harbour second thoughts about coming here again," he said. Mr Bugeja said he could not understand how thousands of liri were being spent to bring to life soft areas and roundabouts while such a natural location meant for the recreation of locals and tourists was being left to the elements and the mindless acts of careless people.

The Times 19 t'April 2004

 

 

 

 

Il-Massakru tal-ghasafar ikompli

The Times 5 t'April 2005

Several hunters yesterday defied the law and police patrols as flocks of herons, birds of prey and other species, such as hoopoes and cuckoos, sought refuge on land after long, tiring flights from Africa in wind and rain. Police officers from the administrative law enforcement Unit caught three hunters red-handed shooting at protected species and another was booked after it was found that his gun was not registered with the police. A hunter from Zabbar was booked after he was seen shooting a marsh harrier, a protected species listed in appendix one of the EU birds directive. Another hunter was apprehended at Hal-Far after he shot a pallid harrier, another protected bird of prey also in the appendix. A third hunter was booked after he was seen shooting a song thrush, a bird that can be killed or trapped in autumn but which is protected at this time of the year. Considerable numbers of kestrels and hoopoes were spotted yesterday, particularly in Gozo when parties of up to six birds were sighted. Flocks of herons were also seen and some flocks consisted of over 50 birds. At Wied il-Mielah, four purple herons were shot out of a flock of seven. Hunters were seen following flocks of night herons and shooting at them from pick-up vans. “Hunters seem less afraid than they were last year. They know the police have only two cars and cannot be everywhere all the time,” sources in Gozo said. At Ghadira, a purple heron with a wing injury landed in the morning, shortly after hunters were seen shooting at purple herons at L-Ahrax. Reports of illegal hunting activity have increased over the past few days as bird migration picks up. Five black-winged stilts, of which one was wounded, landed at Ghadira on Sunday afternoon. Another 14 black-winged stilts landed at Ghajn Tuffieha on Sunday afternoon and in no time a hunter had killed three of them. Hunters were also seen shooting at harriers in Burmarrad on Sunday while shots were fired at lesser kestrels in Dwejra (Malta) on Sunday afternoon, when no hunting is supposed to take place. The lesser kestrels is an endangered bird of prey protected by law. A bird watcher in Gozo reported seeing some 40 marsh harriers between 5 and 6 p.m. on March 28 and counted at least 30 volleys of shots fired at them. A squacco heron that landed on the rocks in Mgarr was killed shortly after. On March 31 in afternoon, when no hunting could take place, over 200 shots were counted in the area of Marsascala. “In spite of warnings that the police are stepping up inspections, hunters know that the ALE has about 24 policemen working in two shifts, which means that 12 officers have to cope with 12,000 hunters, a clearly impossible task,” one birdwatcher said.

 

The Malta Independent on Sunday 21 ta’ Settembru 2008

Massacre of unequalled proportions 

Conservationists are chilled to the bone. Despite massive police deployment and the public presence of numerous bird conservationists from all over Europe and beyond, hundreds of protected bird of prey species were shot by Maltese hunters in the course of only a few hours. Members of the Germany-based Committee Against Bird Slaughter, which is currently conducting bird migration monitoring operations on Malta with a team of 24 activists, spoke of a massacre of unequalled proportions and will demand that the Maltese government put an immediate and complete stop to the hunting season. With a strong oncoming wind over the Mediterranean, more than 1,000 harriers, Honey Buzzards and falcons reached the Maltese Islands on Friday afternoon to rest before continuing their journey to Africa. An ill-fated decision for many of the birds. Near the town of Rabat a CABS team observed hunters opening fire on a group of Marsh Harriers on Friday evening, at least two of which were hit and fell to the ground. Subsequently, the team filmed the hunter picking up the birds and taking to his heels. Previously, hunters near the Blue Grotto had literally torn a Kestrel to pieces with six shots before the very eyes of the CABS observers. Later at 11pm, at a harrier roost south of Xemxija, team members witnessed a group of hunters firing a number of shots and then searching the area with headlamps and torches. At Buskett Gardens, the most important roost area on the main island, observers recorded the arrival of at least 500 Honey Buzzards, 200 Marsh Harriers, some 90 Hobbys as well as dozens of other birds including Osprey, Kestrel and Lesser Kestrel. Thanks to the presence of numerous police officers and ornithologists the situation remained relatively quiet. “Sadly, this proved to be the calm before the storm,” commented CABS General Secretary Alexander Heyd. The 38-year-old botanist and ornithologist was on duty early this morning, together with five colleagues, on the edge of the FKNK game reserve near Mizieb, where some 120 Marsh Harriers had gone to roost the previous evening. “A real shooting match, involving some 40 hunters, began shortly after 5:30am. As soon as a raptor took to the air it was shot at. We counted at least 150 shots and saw at least six birds fall to the ground. A further 15 birds were hit but continued their flight.” Another team of CABS Bird Guards were deployed to the south of the Fiddien Reservoir where 20 to 30 Marsh Harriers landed at dusk. Despite the presence of the Bird Guards the following morning, birds leaving the roost came under fire from all sides. “I was amazed at the audacity and brutality with which the flock was almost completely wiped out,” reports Bird Guard Shai Agmon. For the 34-year-old Israeli conservationist it is the first time on Malta. “This was a completely new and horrifying experience for me and I will be briefing the Israeli news media and my professional colleagues on the unbelievable situation in Malta”. CABS further reports that two shot and injured Honey Buzzards were delivered to the International Animal Rescue rehabilitation centre, with whom the German conservationists have worked hand in hand for the past 18 hours. Their chances of recovery are slight. “These observations are only the tip of the iceberg. We estimate that more than a hundred protected birds, some of them extremely rare species, have been killed between yesterday and today,” David Conlin, a CABS member from Wales summarised. Alexander Heyd commented further: “The continuing assertions by the hunting federation FKNK that the poachers are a handful of black sheep have, as far as I am concerned, been empty words all along. Our data lead us to a completely different conclusion, namely that the majority of hunters participate in illegal hunting.” In view of these events CABS will demand of the Maltese government that an immediate ban on all hunting be imposed until raptor migration is over. Thought must also be given to declaring the FKNK wooded game reserve at Mizieb, and other important roost places, as restricted areas for hunters and subsequently designated bird protection areas. A submission to the Environment Ministry, as well as a report on illegal hunting for the Environment Directorate of the European Commission, is currently being prepared and will be sent to them shortly.

 

 

Il-Wied tal-Kalkara

MEJJU 2005

Il-Gvern ikompli  jeqred l-ambjent naturali.

 

“Two massive carob trees in Kalkara Valley, said to be about 400 years old, have been chopped down, raising the ire and concern of residents in the area. The trees' long life was abruptly terminated when they were felled by developers over the last few days. Such trees are protected by law, especially if they are old, unless a permit is issued allowing them to be uprooted - which was the case with these long-standing carobs, Kalkara mayor Michael Cohen said yesterday. Legal Notice 12 of 2001 establishes a fine, ranging from Lm200 to Lm10,000, for the felling of every tree that is more than 10 years old. But the Kalkara Valley carob trees have been cut with the "blessing" of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, the mayor lamented. He said Kalkara council had not been informed about the chopping of the trees and, when it found out, it immediately contacted MEPA, which said the contractors in question had the required permits. But Mr Cohen maintained that the developers should have consulted with the council on the issue and, at least, agreed how and where to replace the trees. "When it is not possible to replant the trees that have been uprooted, the developers have to donate other trees to the locality," the mayor explained. In the case of the 400-year-old carobs, they were simply too big to be replanted. Mr Cohen said MEPA has told the developer to meet the local council to establish exactly what was being done. The meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow, he said, adding that it should have been held before any works started and that the local council expected to have been informed. The mayor said other trees on the site would just be trimmed, according to MEPA, but he envisaged that more carobs would suffer the same fate once the development in the valley got under way. Clearing the area and removing the trees would give rise to other issues, including flooding due to the lack of water culverts, he said. "In its replanning exercise, MEPA had included the need for water culverts, but the question was who was going to install them... "What we anticipated would happen - that works would be carried out without taking precautions - is happening," the mayor said. "The trees are now gone and we will see what MEPA's environment section has to say about that. We intend to ask. "What is for sure is that we are going to push for the precautions to be taken before construction works start and we plan to engage an architect to evaluate the position of the surrounding buildings to monitor the damage caused by the works." The Kalkara Valley development has long been a contentious issue. The Save the Kalkara Valley front had kicked up a strong campaign to stop the building works in the valley. But the government had argued that the area in question was sandwiched between tracts of built-up areas and that no buildings were being erected in the valley, which had been protected by striking out the 10 tumoli of land from the building scheme.” – The Sunday Times 8.5.2005

 

Fil-21 ta’ Mejju, diversi ghaqdiet waqt konferenza stampa iddeskrivew il-progett tal-wied tal-Kalkara bhala monument tal-misthija.

 

L-ghaqdiet kienu:

 

Alternattiva Demokratika

Ananda Marga

Argotti Botanic Gardens

University Section

Ceratonia

Din l-Art Helwa

Friends of the Earth (Malta)

Genista Foundation

Inizjamed

Moviment Graffiti

Nature Trust

Ramblers Association of Malta

 

 

 

Wied Ghammieq

  

“The chapel and cemetery at Wied Ghammieq in Kalkara are in desperate need of repair and maintenance … Although the authorities have not lifted a finger to at least keep the place in good shape, it is still visited by many people on a regular basis and Mass is still celebrated in the chapel every Sunday. However, even though the chapel is still in use, it is in a bad state of repair, part of the ceiling has collapsed and the boundary wall surrounding the cemetery is broken.”

The Malta Independent 11.5.2006

 

 

 

 

Canfira

Canfira lil Lawrence Gonzi

 

VALLETTA, Malta (di-ve news) -- January 29, 2007 -- 1430CET -- A 115,000-strong petition organized by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has been delivered on Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi's doorstep at Auberge de Castille as a Cabinet meeting was in progress on Monday morning. The petition, delivered by RSPB and BirdLife Malta, claims it is high time the Maltese Government faced its illegal bird hunting and trapping 'shame' and honoured its bird protection commitments. It further urges Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and his Government to “respect the EU bird protection laws, make sure those laws are enforced and stop spring hunting in Malta.” Alistair Gammell, Director of International Operations at RSPB, explained that the petition had to be left on the Castille doorsteps as the Prime minister refused three written invitations by the RSPB and BirdLife Malta to accept the petition personally. Mr. Gammell expressed his surprise at the Prime Minister's persistent refusal considering his willingness to meet the hunters to discuss their priorities. “Spring hunting is extremely damaging, killing birds just days before their nesting will begin in the UK and across Europe. It cannot be tolerated by anyone who cares about nature, and it is a matter of continual concern to many of our million members,” Mr.Gammell went on. BirdLife Malta said that Malta is widely regarded as the worst offender against the EU Birds Directive of all the European Union's 27 member countries, adding that, while changes in hunting legislation were a step in the right direction, government continued to allow spring hunting of turtle dove and quail and the spring trapping of finches in clear breach of European law. “Our government knows that hunting in spring is illegal under the EU law. We are asking the government yet again to outlaw illegal spring hunting practice once and for all. Our elected representatives should do that for the majority of the Maltese public who are overwhelmingly against hunting,” BirdLife Malta President Joseph Mangion said. He added that fourteen bird species have been recorded in Malta that had been ringed in various parts of the UK, noting that in many of these cases the birds were found because they had either been shot or trapped even though none of the species are on the list for permitted hunting in Malta.

 

 

 

Il-kacca

VALLETTA, Malta (di-ve news) -- February 27, 2007 -- 1445CET -- BirdLife Malta and Alternattiva Demokratika have lashed out at the government following the decision to open the spring hunting season in April, describing the government as weak and scared stiff of the hunters' votes.

 

BirdLife Malta, whose representatives left the Ornis Committee meeting on Monday in disapproval, expressed its outrage at the outcome of the meeting and said that it was a reflection of a weak government. “When a Minister sets up a Committee to provide advice on best practice on the issue of hunting and trapping in Malta, there is an expectation that the minimum guidelines within which the Committee should operate are observed even amidst suspicions that the Committee is there to serve a political purpose. In that regard, the latest Ornis Committee meeting went beyond all expectations.” said Joseph Mangion, president of BirdLife Malta. The organization also expressed its disappointment at the statement made by the new chairman of the Ornis Committee, Louis Cilia, who said that the decision to open the spring hunting season was already taken by the government and that the Committee was only expected to recommend the dates and conditions. BirdLife Malta also criticized Minister George Pullicino for changing the existing Legal Notice to sanction his infringement of the rules his own Ministry laid out, whereby the opening of a hunting season could only occur six weeks from the date of the Committee's recommendation. An hour after the meeting, the Minister announced that the requirement had been reduced to four weeks to legalize the unlawful opening of the hunting season, the NGO went on. The organisation also pointed out that, to date, the government has failed to justify its decision to open spring hunting season for three consecutive years since Malta joined the EU in 2004 and is still announcing that it will appoint an independent body to conduct the necessary research to justify its decision as required by the Commission. “This statement from the government proves our point that the Ornis committee had absolutely no scientific base to make any recommendations on spring hunting. The duty of the Ornis Committee is to bring these issues to the government's attention. A situation where the government is not only defying European Law but also breaking its own rules is likely to speed up the infringement process and increase the fines,” said Tolga Temuge executive director of BirdLife Malta.

 

Government has no mandate to defy the EU - AD chairperson

“Contrary to what Minister Pullicino claimed, the government has no mandate to defy the EU. In voting for EU membership a majority voted in favour of respect for the law and not for the government to defy EU rules in the hope of deceiving hunters one last time before the general election,” AD chairperson Harry Vassallo said. Dr. Vassallo went on to say that all hunters and trappers knew that spring hunting would come to an end, as the derogation negotiated in Malta's accession terms with the EU was only a temporary measure. “It is as easy to predict that Malta will be fined as it was easy to predict that government would be opportunistic and allow Spring hunting in 2007,” Dr. Vassallo further said. “The government has once again given in to a few people who think they can do as they please. Instead of implementing EU law regarding hunting, the Government, scared stiff of losing votes, is risking stiff fines imposed by the EU. These fines will be paid out of everybody's taxes,” AD spokesperson for Environment and Energy Ralph Cassar said. The spokesperson added that AD expects a firm commitment from Minister Pullicino ensuring than any fines due will be paid by those holding a hunting license in 2007 and by them alone.

 

IL-KONSEGWENZI TAD-DECIZJONI TAL-GVERN

 

The European Commission yesterday criticised the government's decision to allow hunting this spring. A spokesman told The Times the Commission will now be stepping up its legal procedures against Malta. “The European Commission has noted the decision made on Monday by the Maltese authorities and regrets that this step has been taken. The principle of permitting spring hunting is already subject to an infringement procedure started last June against the government. Spring hunting is not permitted under EU law if there is an existing alternative to it. We maintain that there is and thus Malta is breaching EU law. This will lead Malta to the European Court of Justice.”- The Times 28.2.2007

 

 

 

Ramla l-Hamra

IR-RAMLA L-HAMRA FIL-MIRA TAL-AWTORITAJIET

 

VALLETTA, Malta (di-ve news) -- June 11, 2007 -- 1845CEST –

Several organisations have lashed out at MEPA for approving the development since the Authority's Board gave their green light on June 6th. In a statement issued on Monday, the Xaghra Local Council requested the unconditional revocation of the decision to approve the permit, stating that the development would cause irreparable damage and would be in violation of several MEPA planning policies protecting this kind of environment. “Roman ruins, archaeological sites and unique sand dunes that support an indigenous eco-system not found elsewhere on Gozo or Malta, will be destroyed,” the local council said in a statement, as it also noted that the area is so sensitive that it is currently listed as a protected area under a UNESCO project and is also a candidate for Natura 2000 designation. On Sunday, Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) organised a protest in Ramla l-Hamra, close to the site of the proposed development. AD chairperson Harry Vassallo said that the issue of a permit for the constructions of tens of villas on the clay slopes below Calypso's Cave was an environmental and planning blasphemy which could not be tolerated. “This is another case where Mepa granted a permit when it should have dismissed the application in the first place. This is another example where Mepa is showing weakness with the strong and strength with the weak,” Dr. Vassallo said. The meeting was also addressed by the Ramblers' Association president Lino Bugeja, who stated that, if the permit was allowed to proceed, it was hard to imagine what other planning outrage could be prevented. On its part, BICREF expressed its disapproval for the continued lack of respect of locally unique and environmentally sensitive areas that should be prioritized for their conservation and long term protection, adding that locally there is still a lot to learn and implement with regard to safeguarding the country's heritage and valuable resources. “What is the use of having an authority to plan local development if indeed even the person in the street can appreciate the increasing loss and decreased quality of our natural environment and lives,” the organisation questioned. Last week, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar (FAA) had urged the Prime Minister and the Environment Minister to call an immediate inquiry into the case as well as for the resignation of the MEPA Chairman and Board members. The organisation also claimed that the in-depth archaeological study on which MEPA based both its waiver of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Ramla l-Hamra villas project as well as its decision to approve the permit, turned out to be nothing more than a general preliminary cultural heritage report. FAA said that it was objecting to the project as the outline permit was granted on the grounds that the new project would occupy the same footprint as the old structures, when in fact it is over twice as large. Furthermore, the NGO went on, the site was located Outside of Development Zones (ODZ) -- when the rationalisation schemes were supposed to prevent any more development in such areas -- and was of high landscape value, an ecologically sensitive area bordering a Natura 2000 site, and an archaeologically sensitive area.

 

The Xaghra local council also expressed itself against the development on the hillside. It claimed the decision would cause irreparable damage and violate several planning policies protecting this kind of environment. “Roman ruins, archaeological sites and unique sand dunes that support an indigenous eco-system not found elsewhere on Gozo or Malta will be destroyed,” the council said. “Wistfully, the Xaghra residents hoped that those structures, known as the Ulysses Lodge, built overtop the old Roman Villa, would someday be demolished, never to be replaced again and that the glorious Roman Villa would be properly excavated and exhibited,” the local council said. Wirt Ghawdex, the Gozo Heritage Society, also condemned the manner in which permits for development in such sensitive areas as Ramla Bay in Gozo were being issued. “Past mistakes should not have been aggravated by extending the foot-print of the new development beyond the area already disturbed in an otherwise pristine bay,” Wirt Ghawdex said. Bicref disapproved of what it called “the continued lack of respect of locally unique and environmentally sensitive areas”. “What is the use of having an authority to plan local development if indeed even the person in the street can appreciate the increasing loss and decreased quality of our natural environment and lives,” it asked. The NGO said that even without Environment Impact Assessments these locally unique sites should deserve protection in effective ways.

The Times 12.6.2007

 

Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Harry Vassallo said yesterday the issue of a permit for the construction of tens of villas on the clay slopes below Calypso's Cave was an environmental and planning blasphemy.

The Times 11.6.2007

 

Din l-Art Helwa, the heritage trust, has expressed its strong disapproval of Mepa's decision to grant a permit for the construction of a large tourist complex in Ramla Bay, Xaghra. The existing buildings known as Ulysses Lodge are to be demolished and replaced with a new set of self-catering units, garages and swimming pools, which will extend beyond the existing developed area. “Ramla Bay is one of the loveliest and most picturesque bays in Gozo. This decision to increase the commercial activity in this sensitive area is bound to negatively affect the unspoilt character of the surroundings,” DLH said. “The site is outside the development zone. It is classified as an area of high landscape value and lies in the close vicinity of a protected Natura 2000 site. The Structure Plan does not envisage any new development in this area. The fact that part of the site is already disturbed does not justify further development. The area is also close to a site of archaeological importance. However, the recommendations of the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage were ignored by the Mepa chairman, who instead gave priority to an archaeological report commissioned by the developer. To justify the extension of the development boundaries carried out in 2006, the Minister for the Environment had stated that no further development would be allowed outside the boundaries. This permit flies in the face of this undertaking and bodes very badly for the protection of the remaining countryside,” Din l-Art Helwa said.

The Times 8.6.2007

 

The granting of a permit by Mepa for the development of villas with pools at Ramla l-Hamra (brought to the public’s attention by this paper on 6 November 2005) is nothing short of scandalous and cries out for immediate remedial action by the government. Indeed, the board members at Mepa who voted in favour of the villa development should resign, given that by approving this development they showed a total lack of sensitivity for Malta and Gozo’s history and environment.

Editorjal, The Malta Independent on Sunday 17.6.2007

 

The overwhelming majority of respondents think that the development overlooking Ramla l-Hamra should not go ahead, according to an online poll on The Malta Independent website. The week-long poll, which closed on Tuesday, asked readers whether or not they agreed that the Ramla L-Hamra development should go ahead. The majority of the participants, 88 per cent, said that the development should not go ahead, while the remaining 12 per cent said that it should.

The Malta Independent 21.6.2007

 

Timmy Gambin, Sliema

The Times 13.6.2007

There can be little doubt that whether viewed from above (the belvedere at Calypso's cave) or below (Ramla il-Hamra), the area is one of outstanding natural beauty. The main impact that must be assessed when dealing with this project is the permanent alteration and destruction of a landscape that is unique to the Maltese Islands. The European Landscape Convention was specifically launched to "promote landscape protection, management and planning, and to organise European co-operation on landscape issues". Article 5 of this same convention deals specifically with the need to set up legislation intended to “establish and implement landscape policies aimed at landscape protection, management and planning (...and...) to establish procedures for the participation of the general public, local and regional authorities, and other parties with an interest in the definition and implementation of landscape policies”. With these clear instructions in mind I implore the authorities involved to reconsider and revoke the permit that would lead to irreparable damage to one of Gozo's most pristine and fragile areas. Such natural scenery makes Gozo the island that it is and by ruining the natural landscape we are destroying the very essence of what makes Gozo the idyllic island it is. If we don't grasp this then we as a nation have understood nothing about what needs to be done so as to save what little natural beauty is left on our islands.

 

Karen Agius, Qawra

The Times 13.6.2007

The development at Ramla l-Hamra is against all sustainable measures that we have been lately hearing about. Also as a stakeholder in tourism sector I would like to highlight that it will severely damage Malta's reputation. The Ministry for Tourism has engaged in expensive events to attract visitors to Gozo; we would like to see the Ministry's and the MTA's views on the matter as such construction is highly contradictory to Malta's tourism plan and policy. I really hope that the Maltese join up together in favour if the environment.

 

Michael Galea, Nadur

The Times 13.6.2007

The rule of the jungle seems to prevail in this country. The irony is this: Having a carob tree in your plot may seriously impede your construction plans. But constructing a whole tourist complex in a sensitive area such as Ramla Bay, neighbouring the remains of a Roman villa and sand dunes unique in our islands is OK. Of course, the question is: “OK for whom?” Some have argued that this is a better plan than the existing construction. To those I simply say: Remove what is there, which should have never been there in the first place. You don't right a wrong with another wrong! Shame on the Mepa board members who gave the green light to such a shameful project. They should do the country a favour and resign.

 

Alexander George Farrugia, Xaghra

The Times 12.6.2007

We should all stand up, turn around, face each other, and give ourselves a congratulating handshake, for we finally did it! We managed, through Mepa's decision, to give consent to the building of villas (bet we hold the world record for villas per square kilometre), on the Xaghra side of Ramla beach, arguably the most beautiful and best preserved sandy beach these islands have. If that were not enough, this project will ruin the unobstructed (and pristine) view of Ramla beach and the gorgeous Ramla Valley one can enjoy from Calypso's Cave, a site very popular with tourists visiting Gozo. The investors should not be blamed for trying to make a lucrative deal by building villas and selling them. Rather, Mepa is to blame for issuing such a permit on so sensitive a site. Perhaps that is the way to brand Malta: Welcome to the built-up heart of the Mediterranean! But then, as Albert Einstein is quoted as saying: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.”

 

Fiona Keeling, Gharb

The Times 12.6.2007

Now tourists will be guided to Calypso's Cave, where the legendary nymph seduced Ulysses, to... a building site! The constant dust, mess and chaos created by the endless developments is a complete deterrant to tourists - a far more serious problem than the island's lack of airport or golf course facilities. The tourist industry should do more to oppose the environmental destruction of these beautiful islands but once again the profit of the few will take priority over the economic needs of the entire island. Prosit Mepa!

 

Frances Busuttil, Xaghra

The Times 6.6.2007

As a resident of Xaghra, I oppose vehemently any construction or development being proposed by application PA 07902/05 beneath Calypso Cave and overlooking Ramla Bay in Gozo. If this is given the go-ahead by Mepa today, this gem of a location, one of our best tourist spots on the island, will be ruined forever. Furthermore, a path built by the Romans that leads from Calypso Cave to the beach will be closed to all those who have made use of it since time immemorial. Gozo is a predominantly rural community and nothing is more precious to the Gozitans than their land. The heartbreak when we see our beautiful island being raped is palpable, and though we are not good at expressing our outrage, it is very much felt. Can we now leave at least one bay in Malta free from construction, Ramla Bay? Future generations will be thankful to us if this is achieved.

 

Lawrence Camilleri, Xaghra

The Times 6.6.2007

PA 7902/05 says "Demolition of existing commercial complex". It should read “Demolition of Ramla Bay, the most beautiful part of the Maltese islands”. Unfortunately the locals, especially Nadur and Xaghra residents do not really know what is in store for Ramla, that the scenery around the legendary Calypso Cave would be lost for ever, that the cave itself would be in danger of collapse, that the clear waters of Ramla Bay would be polluted. The application should have been refused in the first instance for all imaginable environmental and legal reasons. When the word environment was unknown, applications by the previous owners to develop part of the area were always refused and that led them to sell off the land. Quite a few emigrants who originate from Xaghra have said that if the development goes ahead, “that would be the end of our annual visits to Gozo”. Wake up Gozo, wake up Malta. Show your disapproval. Where is Gaia Foundation, the guardians of Ramla; where is Wirt Ghawdex and all the rest? Mepa members, stop the nonsense, honour your responsibilities and commitment to the whole nation.

 

Frank Theuma, Nadur

The Times 14.6.2007

Our decision makers still don't get it, do they? It is beside the point if the permit granted for the Ramla l-Hamra development is above board or not; the point is that we are going to destroy more of our precious countryside. It is even more terrifying if such destruction can be carried out with the approval of the law. If we have laws that make this possible I think that it is high time that we do away with them.

 

Nikki Camilleri, Msida

The Times 14.6.2007

It was with great dismay and sadness that I read the news on Saturday morning in which Mepa gave the go-ahead for the development at Ramla l-Hamra. We really never learn, do we? I urge all those with enough intelligence to see that this deplorable development is tantamount to the destruction of a vital part of one of our most important cultural and natural heritage sites, to make their voice heard now. Apathy has already allowed us to destroy much of the beauty this island had to offer. The time for serious civil action has begun.

 

Helen Caruana Galizia, Birzebbuga

The Times 18.6.2007

The Ramla l-Hamra project should not even have reached the stage of awaiting an Environmental Impact Assessment. It should have been smothered at birth, if not before.

 

 

Radd ta' hajr lil min jahdem favur l-ambjent

        

 

 

 

 

Pajjiz mandra

 

 

Sigar tal-Ficus fil-Gudja ... wara li suppost zabruhom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il-Maghtab ta' Ghawdex. Muntanja ta' zibel f'Il-Qortin

 

 

 

 

 

Paceville - 28 t'Awwissu 2003

 

 

 

 

 

Paceville - 28 t'Awwissu 2003

 

 

 

 

It-Triq li minn H'Attard taghti ghan-Naxxar - Awwissu 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

Materjal tossiku mitfuh f'Kordin - Settembru 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il-bahar f'Marsaxlokk - Ritratt ta' The Sunday Times 22.2.2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putirjal - Awwissu 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belt il-Hazna - Dicembru 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post ta' rikreazzjoni abbandunat hdejn il-Laboratorju tal-Paci Hal Far - Dicembru 2004

 

 

 

 

 

Triq il-Professur Carmelo Coleiro Tal-Handaq - Dicembru 2004

 

 

 

 

 

Misrah San Alwigi Birkirkara - Mejju 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triq it-Turisti Bugibba - 15 ta' Mejju 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massakru ta' sigar minn Transport Malta fil-Marsa - Frar 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L-ewwel ghaxquha imbaghad ippruvaw isibu soluzjoni. Ma' haddiehor mxew mod iehor u waqqghulu l-binja mill-ewwel!!

 

 

Ic-certifikat taghna mad-dinja

Fl-Environment Performance Index tal-2012, Malta tpoggiet ma' pajjizi tat-tielet dinja

 

 

 

L-Istorja tal-Enemalta u l-Mercaptan

A board of inquiry appointed by the Minister of Finance has concluded that Enemalta did not dispose of Mercaptan gas in the proper manner when it was destroyed by fire near Mgarr in 2009. The operation was carried out without the necessary permits. However there do not appear to have been consequences on anybody's health. Possible criminal action is time-barred. The report was tabled in Parliament by Mr Fenech this evening. The board of inquiry said that while it was rated as an immediate acute health hazard, ethyl mercaptan is not considered to be a delayed chronic health hazard. Also, it accumulates very little in the body of living organisms. Notwithstanding, there are potential serious health effects, however rare the more extreme effects may be, even for cases of inhalation of gases or fumes released by mercaptan. From the hospital admission registers of Mater Dei Hospital, no records could be found about any admission cases of gas or fume inhalation on the dates when the mercaptan leakages and disposal incidents occurred, and no such cases were known to have been reported to any other health facility in the public sector. Due to physical characteristics of ethyl mercaptan and the fact that these disposal and leakage incidents all occurred more than two years ago, it was unlikely that there still wassignificant ground residue of, and thus residual environmental risk from, this chemical at the said sites. The board said there had 'evidently' been serious shortcomings in decisions and actions by EneMalta at different stages of the mercaptan events. "However these should not be seen in isolation of the context and circumstances in which they took place. While not considered as justification, it is appreciated that there were several factors that may provide a fairer understanding and appreciation of the situations and dilemmas faced by the Enemalta management re this case." In explained that in the perceived emergency situation that EneMalta found itself in, to have to dispose of the mercaptan in the summer of 2009, EneMalta contended that the burning of the mercaptan was carried out under as controlled conditions as there could possibly be in the circumstances. "The burning of mercaptan by EneMalta through its contractor, though carried out with certain safety measures, cannot be deemed to have been done under the controlled conditions as referred to in Material Safety Data Sheets and corresponding standards of repute."

 

Neither were the disposal and other activities by EneMalta concerning mercaptan undertaken according to all the prevalent local legislation at time, specifically as follows:

 - The disposal of mercaptan by EneMalta and its contractor was not covered with a permit issued in terms of the Waste Management (Permit and Control) Regulations;

 - The transportation of mercaptan as waste was not covered by a consignment note issued in terms of the Waste Management (Activity Registration) Regulations;

 - No records seem to have been kept in terms of the Waste Management (Activity Registration) Regulations, with regards to the waste management activities which were arranged on behalf of EneMalta

 - No permit was sought in terms of the Waste Management (Activity Registration) Regulations  for the storage of mercaptan as a hazardous waste on its premises, at least for the duration that the whole quantity of mercaptan was kept together in one site by EneMalta," the board said.

 

It added that if any Enemalta official is found responsible to committing an offence, that offence is legally deemed to have been done by EneMalta. However in this eventuality, any designated official of EneMalta is deemed to be vested with such responsibility on behalf of EneMalta. It pointed out that a breach of the Waste Management (Permit and Control) Regulations renders one subject to a fine for a first offence. However with no such precedent as far as the Board of Inquiry was aware and subject to there being no such precedent, any offence committed by EneMalta now is barred by a lapse of prescription and thus no further criminal action is warranted. Likewise for the same reason, no criminal action is warranted with regards to offences allegedly committed also under the Waste Management (Activity Registration) Regulations. Still, at its discretion, EneMalta may still opt to initiate disciplinary proceedings against any of its professional and other employees who are covered by the respective collective agreements and were directly involved in the disposal of mercaptan, subject to such disciplinary proceedings not taking into account any alleged "criminal offence" as this has now been barred by prescription. Consideration of serious offences of the type "gross negligence in performing one's duties", as listed in the stated collective agreements, may be applied. "The institution of charges with regard to any breaches of the personal engagement contract agreements of any senior management officials directly involved in the decisions and actions related to the mercaptan case is also at the discretion of the EneMalta Board of Directors. "The presence of concentrated ethyl mercaptan at EneMalta was an unintentional and unique occurrence which is unlikely to happen again to EneMalta, given that now the responsibility for LPG procurement in Malta has been taken over by a private gas operator, albeit the fact that the LPG is still presently being stored at the EneMalta Gas Division site in Qajjenza."

 

The board made the following recommendations:

 

- continuing capital investment at the Gas Division as long as this continues to operate

 - engaging suitable professional staff, including with environmental credentials

 - organising more tuition and practical training regarding hazardous operations

 - improving management awareness about the various legal obligations that abound

 - introducing an internal audit function, answering directly to the Enemalta Board

 - ensuring that required approvals and permits are obtained in writing, and records kept

 - coordinating better proactively with public partners and regulatory authorities

 - assigning an official to specialise on dealing with the various regulatory authorities

 - introducing an internal inventory records register for hazardous material substances

 - creating an internal high-level health-and-safety committee, to meet on a regular basis

 

"Other than considering the implementation of the recommendations stated above, no further physical or other remedial actions are, presently at least, envisaged to be needed regarding either environmental or health effects resulting from the mercaptan disposals."

timesofmalta.com April 30, 2012, 18:39

 

 

 

 

One fine day in September 2009 people in many parts of the island woke up to a strong unpleasant odour in the air – a pervasive smell of rotten eggs or boiled cabbage. It was in fact the smell of the hazardous chemical called mercaptan, burned illegally by people from Enemalta in a field outside Mġarr. The story of how the chemical came to be disposed of in this most irresponsible manner is one of absolute shame. It shows glaring lack of transparency and accountability in a state corporation that already has more than enough problems to worry about. The shortcomings add to the general perception, often well grounded, that in Malta anything is acceptable. A state corporation breaking multiple laws to burn hundreds of gallons of the dangerous chemical is a matter that ought to seriously preoccupy any administration. True, an inquiry has now been carried out, but inquiries, essential as they are to find out the truth, are not enough. It is the lessons learned that count most, provided that adequate heed is taken of them in time. But, besides the short-term measures required to prevent such shortcomings from happening, what is required most is the entrenchment of a culture of proper administration and accountability. There have been far too many cases in recent years showing serious lack of internal controls. Two that come readily to mind are the fraud that happened at the VAT department some years ago and the loss of over €30 million in the execution of two contracts at the dockyard before the government had to close down the shipyard. The question this newspaper had put at the time of the fraud case was: How is it possible that fraud on such a scale could go undetected for so long? It was, just as it was possible for a job of the size that was done on the Fairmount at the dockyard to be considered a loss-making venture before work had even begun. Inquiries will not erase the damage done, and the sense of shame that ought to be felt over such matters will never be enough to compensate for shortcomings. The dockyard had to be kept afloat through the taxpayers’ money for many years, until finally the ship-repairing facility was privatised. But the country still has state entities that continue to give serious financial headaches, such as Enemalta, whose debt has now soared to over €600 million, and Air Malta, which is now being restructured. The mind simply boggles at the kind of shortcomings that the inquiry has found in the latest case of lack of responsibility and accountability, that of the illegal burning of the hazardous chemical. The inquiry found that the corporation had not obtained the necessary environmental permits, had not kept adequate records and had failed to consult its own internal experts or the environmental authority throughout the incident. But there is more, much more. According to the corporation’s chairman, there was “an almost complete lack of paper trail of how certain important decisions had been taken and by whom”. Does not this suggest serious shortcomings in the corporation’s internal control? The inquiry has exonerated the corporation’s board of directors, arguing that it appeared that they had not been made aware of the situation at any time. This may very well have been the case, but who is ultimately responsible for the keeping of effective internal control in the corporation’s operations?

Editorjal, The Times 5.5.2012

 

 

 

 

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