This is not an environmental policy. This is showboating

I like trees and all that, but the extension to the Ta’ Qali national park is like fixing a leaking submarine hull with a packet of chewing gum

We’ve banned single-use plastics but we’re encouraging a “cosmopolitan” Malta which, in between amateurish or outright corrupt planning, will only result in creating one huge, congested, polluted city. Good luck getting to Benghajsa or Ta’ Qali by then.
We’ve banned single-use plastics but we’re encouraging a “cosmopolitan” Malta which, in between amateurish or outright corrupt planning, will only result in creating one huge, congested, polluted city. Good luck getting to Benghajsa or Ta’ Qali by then.

It’s been six years of Labour government. The current administration has not only failed to remedy the damage done by the Gonzi/Pullicino duo, but has turned environmental abuse up to 11.

Early in 2019, faced with unbearable property prices, virtual gridlock and fatigue from living in a permanent building site, citizens’ complaints were becoming so loud they started to penetrate Castille’s soundproof glass walls. Developers are vandalising town centres, damaging properties, congesting roads; developers are buying off the authorities; developers are destroying our community and our right to live in peace; developers are controlling this politician, this leadership hopeful or the other.

It’s been a weird fortnight for the environment. There was the issuing of the much-awaited fuel stations policy review (which leaves to be desired because there are loopholes the size of the Maracana that need to be plugged) and a feisty Parliamentary Committee sitting about construction waste/land reclamation (in which sweaty Minister Herrera behaved like a badly-trained estate agent).

Now, being election time, government has wheeled out its howitzers too: two afforestation projects.

I mean, they look nice. On paper. Two huge swathes of land to be landscaped, sanitised, and dedicated to “open spaces.” These projects send shivers down my spine – because government is allowing itself poetic license on ODZ construction, by granting its subjects a few square metres of greenery yet reserving itself the right to build up the rest. “Don’t complain about digging next door at 6:30am – just fuck off to Benghajsa or Ta’ Qali, ay?”

It is, after all, what the MDA proposed when Sandro Chetcuti and his goons walked into Castille as if it were their living room and demanded to safeguard UCAs and town centres in exchange for lax building regulations elsewhere. Basically, holding our towns at ransom.

In the meanwhile, the PA is mercilessly churning building permits, allowing itself a cosiness with developers that reminds me of a few Caligula scenes, and the environment minister refusing to oppose land reclamation – a project promoted by none other than the ubiquitous Sandro Chetcuti himself.

At least, we’ve outlawed balloons until we finally revolt, then we can legislate against buffoons.

There’s more. What with Ian Borg (frontrunner to replace the young-at-heart Muscat) widening roads to create wider, longer traffic jams as the country’s emission statistics have once again slapped us hard, harder than Marlboro Man’s horse trampling onto our lungs; what with more towers being developed at the behest of the same 2/3 developers; what with the tuna and fisheries lobbyists preparing to PR-surf over yet another summer of slime on our beaches...

There is still no comprehensive study to improve mass transit, no metro, only a single-lane tunnel which will teleport traffic jams from Mgarr (Gozo) to Mgarr (Malta) – because a couple of Gozitan businessmen want it so badly (it would be sad if those tomatoes were to arrive in Malta a minute late).

I mean, I like trees and all that, I hope to hug them too someday in 2050 when they’re mature (provided somebody is tasked with watering them).

But this is not an environmental policy. This is showboating. This is fixing a leaking submarine hull with a packet of chewing gum. There is no vision. There is no intent to remedy the damage. The environment doesn’t have a suited lobby backing it. There’s no money in there for politicians. They simply want to paper over the cracks. We’ve banned single-use plastics but we’re encouraging a “cosmopolitan” Malta which, in between amateurish or outright corrupt planning, will only result in creating one huge, congested, polluted city.

Good luck getting to Benghajsa or Ta’ Qali by then.

You’ve understood nothing, dear government. We’ll feel the effects of this on our skin and in our lungs, and you’ll be sat cosily selling passports to the rich in some forgotten corner of the world.

I thank you in advance, hoping Marlboro Man’s horse shows up soon.

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