More biodiversity destruction with EU funds – confirmed

March 10, 2019

Alfred E. Baldacchino

Sunday, 10th March, 2019

Following my latest blog of 4th March 2019, regarding the destruction of Maltese biodiversity by the Ministry for Transport, with the use of EU funds,  Infrastructure Malta, in the portfolio of Dr Ian Borg, the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, have issued a statement saying that the works being carried out are being done “within existing road footprint” and ” “in line with applicable road works permits”.

On the other hand, the Environment and Resource Authority in its press statement  dated Tuesday 5th March, 2019, confirmed that the government road agency’s work had been carried out without the necessary permits, resulting in “environmental destruction”.

ERA’s press release confirmed that: Because of these works, it resulted that there is the destruction of the natural habitat suffered from the laying of construction material on the land which before was colonised by natural vegetation; leading to a physical change of the valley and the water course’s profile.

Besides, these works are all taking place without the necessary permits from the Authority (ERA).

For ease of reference to those who want to see for themselves, this is the link of the ERA press release.

I am sure that the Ministry for Transport officials have brought this ERA statement to their Minster.

Minister Ian Borg knows the site very well because it is in his constituency. A visit to the site, would at once reveal that the Ministry for Transport agency Infrastructure Malta’s press-release is totally incorrect, not only scientifically, factually, but also politically.

The gutter on the right shows to what extent the rich valley bed has been reduced to. And according to Ministry for Transport, this is a footprint of the once farmer’s country path. 

By all means let the farmers be given a helping hand, but not by widening a country path to two or three lanes. And certainly not by obliterating a valley bed, so rich in indigenous Maltese biodiversity, and disrupting the hydrology of the area, impeding the contribution to the water table and the farmers’ wells, if this is of any importance to the Minster’s experts in road widening.

Neither is it in the farmers’ interest in having their rubble walls destabilised, which eventually will be so detrimental to them.

Which professional architect, (unless of course over-ruled), would plan, and approve such damaging works which will lead to the eventual destruction of the rubble wall, and say it is in the interest of the farmers.

Renowned botanists friends of mine have confirmed that a rare indigenous protected tree was destroyed and annihilated, in the parts where the works were carried out by the Ministry for Transport.

A number of environmental NGOs and individuals have also all expressed their concern, dismay and anger against such damaging works by this Ministry.

I am sure Minister’s Borg ‘experts’ have drawn his attention to a number of EU Directives all of which have obligations, even with regards to the works in valleys. Just in case they did not, I would like to draw the Minster’s attention to the following:

  • Valleys are all subject to the EU Water Framework Directive. The local Competent Authority recognised by the EU for surface water in the Maltese Islands is The Energy and Water Agency, in the portfolio of the Ministry for Energy and Water Management, Joe Mizzi. Has the Ministry for Transport discussed the hydrological impacts of their works with this Ministry?
  • Biodiversity management, protection and enforcement is under the responsibility of the Environment and Resources Authority – ERA, in the portfolio of the Minister for Environment, Dr José Herrera, mainly through the EU Habitat Directive, and other International Conventions. Has the Ministry for Transport discussed the impact of their works with this Ministry. Definitely not, according to ERA itself.
  • Wied l-isqof is adjacent to the Natura 2000 site of Buskett and Girgenti. This means, according to the EU Habitats Directive, that any works even outside the boundary of the Natura 2000 site which can have an impact on the Natura 2000 site has to be discussed with the Competent Authority recognised by the EU, that is, ERA. Has Transport Malta discussed the negative biodiversity impacts of their works with this Ministry? Definitely not.
  • The newly appointed AmbjentMalta, is also responsible for valley management. It is also in the portfolio of the Minister for the Environment. Has Transport Malta discussed the impact of their works with this Ministry. Again definitely not as also confirmed by The Ministry for the Environment itself.
  • I would not like to mention the Planning Authority because as far as I am concerned, this authority, coincidentally in the portfolio of Dr Ian Borg Ministry, is more of a rubber stamp than anything else, with only paper professionalism not reflected in decisions taken.
  • The question is: from whom did the Ministry for Transport obtain the necessary permits as stated in their press statement?

I cannot image that the Energy and Water Agency responsible in Malta for honouring the obligations of the EU Water Framework Directive, agreed to render the valley at Wied l-Isqof to a gutter. Perhaps the Ministry for Transport can explain.

I have known Dr Ian Borg since he was a Mayor at Dingli Local Council. We had long discussions regarding the environment. I was convinced that he would be in the front line to protect our natural and international heritage for the good of our country Malta. I still do believe this, unless of course I am corrected by Dr Borg himself.

That is why I ask myself, how is it possible that such biodiversity damaging works are being carried out under his political responsibility, which are far from being environmental friendly in any way.

This make me think that the Minster is not being kept up to date and made aware of the damages being done by his Ministry’s, funded  by the EU.

I am sure that his biodiversity ‘experts’ cannot distinguish between a Sonchus and a Sambucus, and are completely unaware of environmental obligations Malta has, both nationally and internationally.

The damages being done is not just environmentally. It also reflects lack of good governance. It highlights the degradation of the biodiversity of Malta, who as a member of the EU, is obliged to safeguard biodiversity by 2020, according to the EU biodiversity Strategy 2020, This is not done by using EU funds to destroy biodiversity in the name of ‘help to farmers’.

Such works are also embarrassing those Ministries responsible for EU Directives above mentioned, who were not even consulted, not to include the whole country vis-a-vis the EU, if this is of any concern to the Ministry for Transport.

Infrastructure Malta has issued tenders for resurfacing works of various rural roads (IM001/2019). Can the Minister, who has the ultimate responsibility, ensure the Maltese people that such works will not continue to destroy more biodiversity with EU funds, but will be undertaken in line with Malta’s national and international obligations? Can he also take action to restore the damages done in country paths by his Ministry?

Photos have already appeared on the social media with regards to biological diversity massacre at il-Lunzjata.

More biodiversity destruction in il-Lunzjata Malta (subject to correction this is also in the Minister for Transport constituency). One can see the old footprint, and the additional widening resulting in the destruction of biodiversity, presumably with EU funds also. One can also see the butchering of trees undertaken. Can ERA please note and take necessary action. (photos Courtesy of V Abela Facebook/09.03.2019)

https://www.etenders.gov.mt/epps/cft/viewContractNotices.do?resourceId=5258763&fbclid=IwAR2YqL7wX72IATtkm_AVXFwVR0ik-heisQtCZ45fbTzjdAQ6WIYZdFboVgA

If the Minister can bring this electoral poster to the attention of his officials, perhaps they can remember this electoral promise.

One thing is very very obvious. Infrastructure Malta are carrying out works in the name of the Minister, without any professional expertise in biodiversity, or hydrology, no awareness of national and international obligations, and no consultations whatsoever, either with official entities, like ERA, and the Energy and Water Agency, or with individuals and NGOs. The fact that they are undertaking road works with EU funds, does not justify the bulldozing of biodiversity as is being done.

I will still be following the development of such works, not only in the farmers’ interest, but also in the interest of the protection of our national natural heritage, in line with national and international obligations, for the benefit of this and future generations who have lent it to us. And knowing Dr Ian Borg, I do expect his help in achieving this.

aebaldacchino@gmail.com

related article:

EU funds destroy Maltese biodiversity

Advertisements

Susa perikoluża għatba ‘l bogħod minn Malta

February 9, 2017

Alfred E. Baldacchino

Il-Ġimgħa, 9 ta’ Frar, 2017

Ħabib tiegħi poġġa l-ħolqa fuq il-facebook ta’ artiklu li deher fuq in-Newsbook dwar susa perikoluża, għatba ‘l bogħod minn Malta, li qed teqred is-siġar tal-ħarrub,

Skont Newsbook, id-Direttorat għas-Saħħa tal-Pjanti qal fi stqarrija li s-susa bl-isem xjentifiku ta’ Xylosandrus compactus ġiet innutata f’Ragusa Sqallija fir-rebbiegħa tas-sena l-oħra, fejn qerdet ħafna friegħi mis-siġra tal-ħarruba.

Filwaqt li l-awtoritajiet Taljani nedew miżuri sabiex dan l-insett jiġi kkontrollat, dan infirex matul is-sajf u l-ħarifa.

Id-Direttorat bħalissa jinsab għaddej b’kollaborazzjoni mal-Università sabiex jiġbor aktar dettalji u jkun armat jekk din il-ħanfusa titfaċċa Malta. Sa issa għadhom ma ġewx rappurtati każi ta’ dan l-insett f’Malta.

Il-kobor ta’ dan l-insett ivarja bejn il-1.4mm u l-1.9mm, u għandu forma kemxejn tonda u ċilindrika, u huwa ta’ lewn kannelli jew sewdieni.

Il-vittmi ta’ dan l-insett bosta drabi huma siġar u arbuxelli li jkunu diġa ddgħajfu minn qabel, iżda ġew rappurtati każi ta’ siġar friski li nqerdu mis-susa.

Id-Direttorat irrimarka li din hija waħda mill-ftit susi li jinfestaw u jeqirdu pjanti b’saħħithom, u tappartjeni għal familja ta’ susa li hi differenti mill-familji l-oħra minħabba l-mod kif tħaffer fiz-zokk.

———-0———-

Christian Borg fuq il-facebook kiteb hekk:

“Id-Direttorat bħalissa jinsab għaddej b’kollaborazzjoni mal-Università sabiex jiġbor aktar dettalji u jkun armat jekk din il-ħanfusa titfaċċa Malta. Sa issa għadhom ma ġewx rappurtati każi ta’ dan l-insett f’Malta.”

Tajjeb li jsiru studji, imma f’dak l-istadju ma jidrilniex li jkun daqxejn tard wisq?? Espert zgur li minix, imma cert li jistghu jittiehdu iktar mizuri biex nevitaw milli jidhol dan l-insett.

X’tahseb Alfred E. Baldacchino?!

———-0———-

Nirringrazzja lil Christian Borg li ġibidli l-attenzjoni u staqsini x’naħseb.

Xi tridni naħseb Christian? In-nies ta’ dan il-pajjiż jidhru determinati li jagħmluh deżert mingħajr ebda siġra. Naraw l-importazzjoni ta’ speċi invażivi bl-addoċċ u mingħajr kontrol, xi kultant ukoll imħallsa minn flus pubbliċi; nfiq ta’ €57 miljun minn flus pubbliċi u tal-EU wkoll biex l-ilma tax-xita narmuh il-baħar, waqt li dak tal-pjan jitella’ kif ġie ġie, bla kontrol ta’ xejn. Meta ħadd ma għandu l-ebda ħjiel, jew xi xewqa li jkun jaf bid-diżastru li qed inġubu fuqna, anzi nonfqu l-flus biex inġubuh b’idejna, x’tistenna?

Mill-esperjenza li għandi ta’ dan il-pajjiż, issa nistennew u nitolbu biex din is-susa ma ssibx ruħha hawn Malta. U meta tidħol imbagħad ngħidu li daħlet u nibku ftit ukoll u ngħidu ara x’ġaralna! Imbagħad inwaqqfu l-importazzjoni ta’ dawk is-siġar li din is-susa tista’ tiġi magħhom. Jew inkella nivvintaw xi bexx biex inbigħuh lil dawk li għandhom xi siġra tal-ħarrub biex inkomplu ngħinu lil dawk li l-għan tagħhom huwa li jagħmlu l-qliegħ mill-injuranza ta’ dawk li jmexxu.

Din il-ħanfusa hija indiġena għall-pajjiżi mill-orient, u nfirxet permezz tal-kummerċ. Hija tattakka madwar 200 speċi ta’ pjanta.
U jekk tgħidli li qed nesaġera, infakkret f’meta daħal il-Bumunqar Aħmar tal-Palm – ir-red palm weevil. Minkejja li kien hemm pariri biex ma jiġux importati siġar tal-palm minħabba dan il-bumunqar, xorta ġew importati. U minn fejn? Minn dawk il-pajjiżi fejn dan kien qed jagħmel ħerba bla rażan. Sallum inqerdu ‘l fuq minn 5000 siġra tal-palm.
U hekk naħseb li sejjer jiġri minn dan il-susa sewda tal-friegħi (black twig borer).
Ir-responsabbiltà biex jittieħdu passi hija tal-ERA – l-Awtorità tal-Ambjent u tar-Riżorsi). Din għanda l-għodda legali kollha biex twaqqaf id-dħul ta’ din il-ħanfusa. U magħha hemm ukoll is-Segretarjat tal-Agrikultura. Dawn it-tnejn qegħdin fil-Ministeru tal-Ambjent.
Issemma wkoll li “Id-Direttorat bħalissa jinsab għaddej b’kollaborazzjoni mal-Università sabiex jiġbor aktar dettalji u jkun armat jekk din il-ħanfusa titfaċċa Malta. Sa issa għadhom ma ġewx rappurtati każi ta’ dan l-insett f’Malta.”
Dan jgħati ‘l wieħed x’jifhem li d-Direttorat diġa qata’ qalbu li jwaqqaf id-dħul ta’ din il-ħanfusa f’pajjiżna, u qed jagħmel studju biex jikkontrollaha meta tidħol. Imma ma hemm l-ebda viżjoni, ħeġġa jew determinazzjoni biex din il-ħanfusa ma titħallhiex tidħol. L-istess kif ġara meta daħal il-Bumunqar Aħmar tal-Palm.
U ngħid jien, meta l-Università ħallset biex 60 siġra taż-żebbuġ inħasdu metru ‘l fuq mill-art, għax kif intqal kienu qed iwaqqgħu ftit weraq fuq il-karozzi, u qisu ma ġara xejn, taħseb li l-Università ta’ Malta, għandha xi viżjoni, ħeġġa jew interess fil-ħarsien tas-siġar u kif sejra titwaqqaf din is-susa sewda tal-friegħi milli tidħol hawn Malta?
Kull ma nista’ nagħmel jien, Christian, huwa li nitlob ‘l Alla biex jgħinna ftit ħalli nużaw imqar niskata intelliġenza minn dak li tagħna, forsi nbexxqu ftit għajnejna mill-għamad tal-kilba tal-flus li qed jaħkimna, jagħmina u li sejjer jeqridna.
aebaldacchino@gmail.com
ara wkoll:

Se nsiru deżert

August 14, 2016

illum

Il-Ħadd, 14 ta’ Awwissu, 2016

Albert Gauci Cunningham

ilma 1

ilma 2

ilma 3

ilma 4

ilma 5

aebaldacchino@gmail.com

Ara wkoll:

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2016/03/26/it-never-rains-it-pours/

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/xqed-naghmlu-bl-ilma-tax-xita/

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/dezert-niexef-nixfa-ta-ideat/

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/l-immaniggar-tal-ilma-fmalta/

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/in-nixfa-tax-xitwa-u-s-sigra-tal-lewz/

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/fallen-trees-and-lost-water/

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/god-and-landscaping/

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/water-harvesting-culture/

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/il-bdil-fil-klima/

https://alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/aghmel-xita-aghmel-2/


X’qed nagħmlu bl-ilma tax-xita?

June 24, 2014

NewsBook

X’qed nagħmlu bl-ilma tax-xita?

 

 It-Tlieta, 24 ta’ Ġunju, 2014

Alfred E. Baldacchino

water tapKieku wieħed kellu jistaqsi minn fejn inġibu l-ilma ma għandhix dubju li jkunu ħafna dawk li jgħidu li dan jiġi mil-vit! Forsi wħud jgħidu mid-distillaturi li jaqilbu l-ilma baħar f’ilma tax-xorb. Imma naħseb li jkunu l-ftit dawk li jaħsbu li x-xita t-tina ilma tajjeb għax-xorb u b’xejn għax ftit huma dawk li jgħarfu l-importanza ta’ dan l­ilma. Dan, wara li jaqa’ mis-sema b’xejn, jinxtorob mill-blat u bil-mod il-mod jinħażen fl-ilma tal-pjan, kemm dak ta’ fuq, kif ukoll dak ta’ taħt. Fil-qedem kien is-sors tal-ħajja fil-gżejjer Maltin, u għal numru kbar ta’ snin kien jisqi kemm lill-bniedem u l-bhejjem tiegħu fuq din l­art. Kienu jaħsbu bis-sħiħ biex dan ma jinħeliex.

06 - ilma

Kif l-ilma tax-xita jinxtorob u jinħażen fl-ilma tal-pjan,kemm ta’ fuq kif ukoll ta’ taħt. (meħud mill-ktieb Ilma, blat u ħajja ta’ Patrick J Schembri u Alfred E. Baldachhino)

Minn jaf kemm konna nixorbu anki minn nixxigħat, jew inkella ntellu ftit ilma bil-barmil mill-bir. Dak kien ilma bnin u frisk, u b’xejn. Għidt konna għax illum wieħed jiftaħ il-vit u jsib l-ilma, li nħallsu għalih. U hekk nemmnu li dak tax-xita ma għandux valur u mhux tajjeb. Għalhekk ftit hemm għarfien tal-bżonn li nieħdu ħsieb dan ir-riżors, dejjem sakemm meta niftħu l-vit insibuh.

Tant tlifna kull apprezzament ta’ dan ir-riżors importanti għall-ħajja li jasal għandna b’xejn, li llum aktar hemm sforzi biex narmuħ milli biex naħżnuh.

dumped-water

Ngħid għalija ma nistax nifhem it-tfassil poliltiku li twettaq dan l-aħħar snin. Kien hemm liġi tal-1854 li kull qatra ilma tax-xita trid tiġi maħżuna. Imma Ministru Malti ħassar dan l-obbligu li kienet titlob li kull dar u kull binja jkollha bir kbir skont il-kobor tal-binja, biex jilqa’ u jaħżen l-ilma tax-xita, u dan tpoġġa f’linji ġwida. U hekk issa l-ilma li jaqa’ fuq il-bjut jista’ jmur fit-toroq jew fid-dranaġġ li qatt ma tfassal biex jieħu dan l-ilma kollu. Wieħed jista’ jara numru ta’ funtani ta’ ilma mniġġeż ħiereġ mit-tappieri fit-toroq, u ilma ħiereġ fit-toroq minn fuq il-bjut. Dan imur fil-widien u jniġġeż kull fejn jgħaddi, saħansitra anki l-ilma tal-pjan.

page-1

LN-376-of-2012

Naraw ukoll Ministru li biex itaffi l-għargħar minn dan l-ilma mit-toroq issa l-biċċa ’l kbira mniġġeż, iħaffer mina taħt l-art bi flus mill-Unjoni Ewropea (madwar €70 miljun) biex l-ilma tax-xita ma jibqax jiġri fit-toroq imma jintrema l-baħar. Smajna li dalwaqt titlesta din il-mina u naħseb li jindaqqu ftit trombi għall-ftuh ta’ din l-opra.

Ngħid kieku b’dawn il-flus kollha tħaffru ġwiebi kbar f’kull bitħa ta’ kull skola li għandna u f’kull wesgħa fl-irħula biex jilqgħu u jaħżnu dan l­ilma, u kieku l-bjar u l-ġwiebi li hawn ta’ żmien il-Kavallieri, issewwew u tranġaw, u kieku min ried iħaffer bir fid-dar tiegħu kien mgħejjun, ma kienx ikun aħjar milli dawn il-flus intremew il-baħar?

Saħansitra Ministru, ukoll minħabba l-obbligi u anki bi flus miġjuba mill-UE, bena impjant ħdejn il-baħar biex isaffi l-ilma tad-drenaġġ. U niftakar kemm-il darba li dan ftaħar li dan l-ilma ma għandux valur ekonomiku, u li Malta sejra tkun l-ewwel pajjiż fl-UE li tarmi, iva tarmi l-baħar, l-ilma msaffi mid-dranaġġ. U żgur li mhux sejrin nibqgħu tal-ewwel biss, imma anki tal-aħħar għaliex fl-UE l-ilma msaffi jintuża u jerġa jintuża u mhux jintrema, minkejja li għandhom ħafna aktar ilma milli għandna aħna. Ara Singapor, l-ilma tad-dranaġġ jużawh, darba, tnejn. tlieta, sa seba’ darbiet, u anki għax­ xorb. Imma la fl-UE u lanqas f’Singapor għadha ma waslet l-intelligenza endemika tal-politku Malti. Għandniex biex inkunu kburin f’dan il-pajjiż!

Mhux talli hekk, talli wara li l-ilma tad-dranaġġ imsaffi, u l-ilma tax-xita jintremew il-baħar, ftit metri ’l bogħod minn fejn dan jintrema, għandna d­distillaturi li jerġgħu jiġbdu l-ilma mill-baħar u jsaffuh biex jerġgħu jwassluh ġol-vit fid-­djar u fl-industrija: minn fejn ikun intrema. U biex isir dan jinħaraq ammont kbir ta’ żejt fossilizzat biex iħaddem id­distillarturi, u joħorġu flus Maltin barra minn Malti biex jinxtara. U l-ħruq tiegħu iniġġeż l-arja.

Xi kultant nistaqsi lili nnifsi jekk hemmx xi ħadd li huwa, jew kien, aktar ħerqan li jixtri ż-­żjut minn barra minn Malta milli huwa biex jaħżen u jsalva risorż naturali li l-Ħallieq itina kull sena b’xejn. Imma mbagħad ngħid, jien minn jien, biex nista’ nifhem din l-intelligenza kollha endemika tal-politikant Malti! Dan huwa onorevoli u intelliġenti, magħżul minn nies biex imexxina. U jien f’hiex nifhem fil-politika, fin-negozju taż-żejt, fil-magni, u fix-xogħol, imma għandi biss interessi soċjali u ambjentali?

aebaldacchino@gmail.com

alfredbaldacchino.wordpress.com

 

Ara wkoll/see also:

http://wp.me/pL6Mk-FB

http://wp.me/pL6Mk-ag

http://wp.me/pL6Mk-5f

http://wp.me/sL6Mk-water