Greens slam proposed stone crushing activities next to Mqabba primary school

ADPD - The Green Party says that such activities would be detrimental to the environment but also to the physical and mental health of children and residents

ADPD - The Green Party held a press conference in Mqabba on Saturday morning (Photo: ADPD)
ADPD - The Green Party held a press conference in Mqabba on Saturday morning (Photo: ADPD)

ADPD - The Green Party is objecting to the proposal for stone crushing and stockpiling in an Mqabba quarry, close to the Mqabba primary school.

During a Saturday press conference in Mqabba, ADPD said that the proposal would not only be damaging to the environment but also detrimental to the physical and mental health of the nearby residents.

The Green Party Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said that the party had always objected to such projects being proposed close to residential areas.

“The institutions that are meant to protect the common citizen are failing to do this. The Green Party has always objected to these projects that impact negatively the quality of life of the ordinary citizen, while the operators continue to line their pockets,” Cacopardo saod.
He said that when wind would be blowing in the direction of the residences and the school, they would be all covered in dust, possibly causing respiratory issues to both residents and school children.

Cacopardo mentioned how twenty years ago, MEPA had published a Minerals Subject Plan for the Maltese Islands. The plan had, in part, focused on the impact such activity leaves on third parties, primary from dust and noise pollution.

“Among other things, it states that planning permits will seek to regulate noise impacts through restricting operating hours and the setting of permissible maximum noise levels. The regulation of dust impacts in the said plan recommends considering the direction of prevailing winds and that stock piles are always kept covered,” Cacopardo said.

He said that this plan seemed to have disappeared from the Planning Authority’s website and that the Environmental Health Directorate had failed to make any submissions on the negative health impacts of noise and dust generated as a result of these operations.

“The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) on the other hand, lists a number of conditions to be adhered to. However these measures should be an integral part of both an eventual planning permit as well as the standard operational permit issued by ERA itself.”

Cacopardo remarked that the Education department, responsible for the Mqabba Primary School and the Mqabba Local Council had so far remained silent.

“Once again, the institutions that are meant to protect the common citizen from such proposals are failing to do so,” Cacopardo stated.
“It is utterly unacceptable that commercial operators continue to disregard the residents’ plight. The residents’ quality of life should be prioritized in practice, and not just with meaningless words,” concluded Cacopardo.

ADPD Secretary General Melissa Bagley said that the application proposing the execution of stone crushing on site and stock piling in the open, among other developments is is objectionable on multiple fronts.

She said that residents and children who attend the primary school will be impacted by the large amount of dust generated from the activity in this quarry.

Bagley emphasised that noise was also an issue, mentioning how studies had indicated that it has an impact on both physical and mental health.

“ERA has already stopped the quarry’s operation following repeated complaints from residents. We have been informed that until the activity was stopped by ERA, the quarry was operating from as early as 4:00am in the morning all day long to as late as 9pm. Many residents had submitted their complaints to ERA, eventually, this took the necessary action,” Bagley said.

“It is unacceptable to postpone the consideration of the issue of dust and noise to the environmental permitting stage as these matters are also a planning issue.”

Bagley said that ADPD had submitted its objection to the application on these grounds and has asked for the application to be refused.