An official water policy!
Alfred E Baldacchino
On Friday, 1 st July, while driving from Rabat toward Valletta at 11.30am, I noticed that the turf at the roundabout along the Rabat Road (intersecting with Zebbug/Mtarfa bypass) was being watered with sprinklers. Some of the
sprinklers were simply watering the adjacent road, to the extent that any driver who was so thirsty could simply put his head out of the car’s window and have a sip. Those who wanted to clean one side of the car could also go round twice or thrice and have their car’s right-hand side cleaned. Naturally the water spread on the road, cars splashing in it , eventually finding its way along the Zebbug bypass. The couple of photos I took can give an idea of such a waste of resources, more acute if one adds the energy used to activate this.
Now this is not the first time I have seen this, and not only at this particular roundabout. Many others have also commented in the media. In a week in March, on a rainy day, yes in March, and I had the car wipers busy cleaning the rain water from my windscreen, the sprinklers at the Santa Lucia roundabout were busy watering the turf at that roundabout. As usual a couple of these were sprinkling the road and not the turf, perhaps an ingenious computerised way of diverting water from the turf this having been saturated with the sprinklers’ water and the rain water. And this leads me to ask a number of questions that I find great difficulty in answering:
- Hasn’t water been declared a rare resource in the Maltese Islands and great efforts are being made to properly manage, monitor and prevent waste?
- Hasn’t it been made ample clear that in our country with such high temperatures and such a lack of water supply, turf is not the best plant to use for landscaping, as has been pointed time and time again in the various Environment Impact Assessments where the use of turf was suggested?
- Isn’t such “embellishment” (sic) projects – heavily paid by public funds to the tune of a minimum 7 milliom Euros (LM3 million of our old money) a year – not sustainable and a great misuse of resources ?
- Who is paying for such a waste of resources? Please do not tell me that the people are paying for such waste. we all know it.
- Has the Ministry abdicated all responsibility and is giving blank cheques as long as business is carried out, irrespective of negative impacts on society and on the environment?
- Isn’t the Ministry responsible for monitoring, enforcing and planning such ‘landscaping’ the same Ministry who is responsible for National Resources, including water? If it was two different Ministries, say one planning to make Bisazza Street a pedestrian zone, and the other planning new bus routes through it, then perhaps, perhaps, perhaps, each could point a finger to each other. But this is the same Ministry!!
- Does the Ministry have any qualified personnel in a responsible executive position to check such misuses and mismanagement of resources in such planning initiatives? Or does it have a rubber stamp to endorse all polices and expenses presented to it, as long as it is related to ‘business’?
- Is it the Government’s policy ” that where the economy stutters, the environment is the first to suffer”, a statement that we have also heard in connection with the Dwejra filming amateurish handling?
- Doesn’t this country, one of the 27 EU member states, deserve much better than all this bullshit in the name of the national interest?
Even the stone statue in the middle of the said roundabout were so denuded of reasons to justify what they were seeing, that they had a look of a guilty feeling. They looked so ashamed and embarrassed at such greed that they could not even look each other in the eye. Reminded me of the guilty feeling Adam and Eve might have had after the biblical apple-affair! So they preferred to look at the people as if to support them and pity them for the misuse and mismanagement of their resources! But I suppose those who are gifted with more wisdom that I (politically that is) will tell me that politicians are made of much more precious stuff than stone – they cannot possibly have such guilty feelings!
The closest answer I could possibly find to all my questions is incorporated in an article by Martin Scicluna in the Malta Independent on Sunday of the 3rd July 2011, as per attached link: