Minister and MP call for united approach to environmental matters

Galdes says San Frangisk animal welfare centre is to become fully fledged animal hospital

Environment minister Leo Brincat and Labour MP Marlene Farrugia have spoken out about the need to go beyond partisan leanings and avoid making the environment a political football.

In her intervention during a debate in parliament, Farrugia noted that Malta was still waiting for policies that secured a harmonious link between economic prosperity and a healthy environment.

She recommended a commission in environment and planning matters made up of NGO’s, experts and civil society as well as representatives from both parties to create a long-term plan.

“It is only if we go beyond specific parties that we can make effective and long-term changes,” she said stressing that it as of great concern that governments placed the needs of big developers over the health considerations of citizens and their quality of life.

In his intervention Brincat also stressed the need to have an unbiased approach towards the environment.

Discussing the government’s allocations to the sector, Brincat said that the Environment and Resource Authority (ERA) had seen an additional €3 million allocated to Wasteserv and five times more funds to the Waste management Plan, compared to last year. 

Brincat explained that the government was pushing for various developments in the waste management sector, with investments in added waste separation and the collection of degradable waste in five localities starting next Friday.

He added that one of the main priorities for the government during the coming year, was the development of civic amenity sites, and addressing all possible abuses and discrepancies therein.

Brincat also expressed concern at the number of local councils that were not aware of their duties in waste management, and said that he hoped that additional schemes would continue to make roles clearer.

Responding to criticism from the opposition, Brincat said that waste was already being exported to other countries for treatment, and he added, a local waste to energy plan was in the works, but it is subject to EU timelines..

Brincat also looked forward to plans tackling food waste, that would be implemented next year.

“There are plans to donate some of these foods that are past their sell by date but still fit for consumption to families in need, as well as others to regulate waste from supermarkets,” he said.

Discussing the MEPA demerger, Brincat said that the CEO of the Environment ant Resources Authority (ERA) was soon to be selected and that interviews for this post and for the environment director in the authority were currently being held.

Responding to criticism about the green economy document, Brincat said that the document was “a first, unprecedented step,” and added that the opposition was welcome to making suggestions about it.

Brincat also highlighted the government’s commitment to creating open space projects and parks through projects like the extension of Kennedy Grove, as well as plans for the afforestation of various areas including Burmarrad and Gudja among others.

He further explained that the government had plans to give the woodlands surrounding the Salini area to environmental agencies to make it one of the largest bird sanctuaries on the island.

In his intervention during the debate, MP Godfrey Farrugia said that the government had started to create a balance between sustainable economic development and environmental protection, while MP Silvio Parnis spoke about the promising developments made to improve the environment of the south of the island.

Galdes says San Frangisk animal welfare centre is to become fully fledged animal hospital

Parliamentary secretary Roderick Galdes said that the San Frangisk Animal Welfare Centre in Ta’ Qali was to become a fully equipped animal hospital, and that the specific requirements made in the tender for a new operator reflected this change.

“The centre had been opened as an aftercare clinic rather than a hospital,” he added.

Responding to Nationalist MP Mario Galea’s allegations and suggestions about the suspicious nature about how the tender was awarded, Galdes stressed that the allegations were “baseless” and “unacceptable” and that the operator had responded to a public tender.

“The tender was open to all, and we met with various entities including the previous manager of the centre with the aim of extending his contract,” he added, explaining that there would soon be a new tender for its operation, with the aim of establishing a fully-equipped veterinary 24/7 animal hospital.

Galdes also insisted that the pet cemetery project was moving ahead, and that the government was also embarking on much needed refurbishment and modernization of the Pitkalija, or farmers’ market.

Galdes also pointed out that the government had achieved the highest track record for hunting regulation enforcement, with  some countries even commending Malta for its stand against these abuses by the international community.