The sacrifice of more arable land is an obscenity |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
27/02/2020

The sacrifice of more arable land is an obscenity

Malta Youth in Agriculture Foundation, Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi and several NGOs have condemned the proposed expropriation of agricultural and natural land in Magħtab in order to facilitate the construction of waste management facilities. Two hundred tumoli of arable land are being sacrificed with the excuse that the “modernisation of infrastructure” is necessary and corners need to be cut.


The gradual degradation of our countryside stems from the policy of encroaching on agricultural land without any serious acknowledgement of the very limited open, green spaces left in Malta – which also serve the vital purpose of bringing food on our tables.


Natural countryside in Malta is pockmarked with such developments that are, on a daily basis, becoming more numerous. The consequences of the loss of natural and agricultural land are severe – besides the direct impact on our health and way of life (especially in terms of respiratory diseases due to pollution), there is also the concern of potential shortages and a complete dependence on the costly importation of food.


Instead of fostering a culture of nurturing the land and tilling it, one finds a culture of exploitation and lack of accountability. State entities such as Wasteserv seem to have no issues with taking up land and drafting plans without as much as a consultation. If a consultation is set up, it is often the case that recommendations from watchdog entities are dismissed or otherwise unacknowledged altogether. It is highly ironic that Wasteserv falls under the remit of the Ministry for the Environment.


It should also be stated that the area around the Magħtab landfill is a known and documented area of archaeological significance which includes the Ta' Hammut dolmens as well as megalithic remains. A large ancient quarry was observed abutting the landfill some years ago. This means that the area was in constant use over millennia and, also for this reason, deserves conservation not the threat of destruction.


Furthermore, this development in Magħtab will negatively impact the quality of life of all neighbouring villages. Not only are those being evicted going to suffer directly because of the loss of their entire livelihood; it is also set a further precedent allowing more developments to gobble up land. In particular, one notes how developments such as this tend to ignore any concerns for the community, aesthetics or congestion, and are presented as a fait accompli.


We believe that, besides reconsidering our waste strategy and culture, projects such as this should be planned in a way to minimise, not encourage, the take up of further agricultural land and similar resources. Considering the widespread destruction of arable land wrought by the Central Link project, Government should be looking at ways to preserve the limited agricultural land and greenery in our country.


Years of infrastructural deterioration and a lack of serious investment that goes beyond flagship projects and electoral promises cannot be fixed quickly. Long-term problems require long-term solutions, and the destruction of one of the most important sectors of our society will certainly not benefit anyone except for the wealthy property-owners who wish to fill up their coffers.


NGOs: Bicycle Advocacy Group, Birdlife Malta, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth (Malta), Futur Ambjent Wieħed, Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi, Għaqda Siġar Maltin, Green House, Isles of the Left, Malta Youth in Agriculture Foundation, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust, The Archaeological Society Malta, The Ramblers' Association, Żminijietna - Voice of the Left.


*******


Stqarrija Konġunta għall-Istampa - 27/02/2020


It-teħid ta' aktar art agrikola hija oxxenità.


Il-Fondazzjoni Malta Youth in Agriculture, l-Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi u diversi NGOs ikkundannaw l-esproprjazzjoni proposta tal-art agrikola u naturali fil-Magħtab sabiex tiġi faċilitata l-kostruzzjoni ta' faċilitajiet għall-ġestjoni tal-iskart. Mitejn tumola ta' raba' tajjeb għall-ħart qed jiġu sagrifikati bl-iskuża li l-"modernizzazzjoni tal-infrastruttura” hija neċessarja u x-xogħol irid isir.


Id-degradazzjoni gradwali tal-kampanja tagħna għandha l-għeruq tagħha fil-politika ta' approprjazzjoni tal-art agrikola mingħajr rikonoxximent serju ta' kemm huma limitati l-ispazji miftuħin u ħodor li għad fadal f'Malta – u li jservu wkoll l-għan vitali li jġibulna l-ikel fuq l-imwejjed tagħna.


Il-kampanja naturali f'Malta hija invażata bi proġetti bħal dawn li ta' kuljum dejjem qed jiżdiedu. Il-konsegwenzi tat-telfien tal-art naturali u agrikola huma gravi ħafna – minbarra l-impatt dirett fuq is-saħħa u l-mod ta' ħajja tagħna (speċjalment f'termini ta' mard respiratorju minħabba t-tniġġis), hemm ukoll it-tħassib dwar nuqqasijiet potenzjali u dipendenza totali fuq l-importazzjoni tal-ikel, li tinvolvi spiża kbira.


Minflok ma titrawwem kultura li tħaddan l-idea li l-art titħaddem, insibu minflok kultura ta' esplojtazzjoni u nuqqas ta' responsabilità meħuda. Entitajiet statali bħal Wasteserv jidher li ma jaraw xejn ħażin bl-approprjazzjoni tal-art u t-tfassil ta' pjani mingħajr lanqas ħjiel ta' konsultazzjoni. U meta tinbeda konsultazzjoni, ta' sikwit ikun il-każ li r-rakkomandazzjonijiet mill-watchdogs jiġu rifjutati jew anke injorati għal kollox. Ta' min wieħed jinnota l-ironija li Wasteserv taqa' taħt il-Ministeru tal-Ambjent.


Għandu jingħad ukoll li madwar il-landfill tal-Magħtab hemm sit dokumentat magħruf ta' sinifikat arkeoloġiku li jinkludi d-dolmens Ta' Hammut u fdalijiet megalitiċi. Barriera kbira antika kienet osservata fix-xifer tal-landfill xi snin ilu. Dan ifisser li s-sit kien f'użu kontinwu ġħal millenji u għalhekk, għandu jiġi kkonservat mhux mhedded.


Barra minn hekk, dan il-proġett fil-Magħtab se jolqot ħażin il-kwalità tal-ħajja tal-irħula kollha fil-viċin. Dawk li se jiġu żgumbrati se jsofru direttament it-telfien tal-għajxien tagħhom; fl-istess waqt qed jiġi stabbilit preċedent ieħor li jippermetti aktar proġetti jibilgħu l-art. Ta' min wieħed jinnota li proġetti ta' din ix-xorta għandhom it-tendenza li jinjoraw kwalunkwe tħassib għall-komunità, l-estetika jew il-konġestjoni, u jiġu ppreżentati bħala fait accompli.


Aħna nemmnu li barra li għandhom jiġu aġġornati l-istrateġiji u l-kultura tal-iskart, proġetti bħal dawn għandhom jiġu pjanati biex inaqqsu, u mhux jinkoraġġixxu, it-teħid ta' aktar art agrikola u riżorsi simili. Meta nikkunsidraw il-firxa tal-qerda tal-art agrikola kkaġunati mill-proġett tas-Central Link, il-Gvern għandu jfittex mezzi kif jippreserva l-art agrikola u l-ħdura limitati f'pajjiżna.


Snin ta' deterjorazzjoni infrastrutturali u nuqqas ta' investiment serju li jmur lil hinn minn proġetti ewlenin u wegħdiet elettorali ma jissewwewx kif ġieb u laħaq. Problemi fit-tul jirrikjedu soluzzjonijiet sostenibbli, u l-qerda ta' wieħed mill-aktar oqsma importanti fis-soċjetà tagħna żgur mhu se jkun ta' benefiċċju għal ħadd ħlief is-sidien sinjuri tal-propjetà li jixtiequ jimlew buthom.


NGOs: Bicycle Advocacy Group, Birdlife Malta, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth (Malta), Futur Ambjent Wieħed, Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi, Għaqda Siġar Maltin, Green House, Isles of the Left, Malta Youth in Agriculture Foundation, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust, The Archaeological Society Malta, The Ramblers' Association, Żminijietna - Voice of the Left.