Santa Marija fireworks burn old carob trees at Tal-Maqluba

Members of the Civil Protection Department could not access a number of protected carob trees in Maqluba that caught fire as a result of nearby fireworks. Newspaper Illum reports how the the age-old trees were left to burn.

The area of Maqluba in Qrendi is a nationally protected area, but despite its recognition by authorities, the Police last week still allowed fireworks to be set off for the feast of Santa Marija.

Witnesses who saw the trees catch fire said that remnants of fireworks landed on the stairs that lead to the area of Maqluba, while others landed in the are concentrated with carob trees (sigar tal-Harrub) and Juniper trees (sigar ta l-Gharghar).

Readers who spoke to newspaper Illum said they tried to get the attention of the Civil Protection department, and tell them to put the fire out, but they ignored requests and trees found a couple of metres away from the Maqluba area ended up catching fire.
Carob trees are protected by law in Malta, and anyone caught vandalising them may be penalised.

Head of the Department Patrick Murgo told Illum “I spoke to a number of workers on duty on Sunday, the day of the feast, and I was informed that they were only able to dispel some of the fires because some areas were not accessible. They did their job in making sure the fire didn’t spread and damage residences.”

Murgo also confirmed that there were police on site while the fires were taking place.

MEPA have also confirmed with the same newspaper “we are looking into the damage that the site incurred and are urging the police to investigate.”

According to legal notice 12 of 2001, under chapter 348, any person caught deliberately damaging a carob tree ten years old or older in Malta, may be liable to a fine of not less that €350 and not more than €23,294. If a person commits a repeat offence, damaging trees repeatedly, he may be fined a minimum of €466 and a maximum of €46,587. One may also be sentenced to not more than two years in jail. Alternatively, one may be fined and sentenced.

Malta has a total of 55 protected trees and any tree over the age of 50 is also considered a protected species.

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brian grima
well this is getting hot because fireworks are involved not fot the carrob trees. I am saying this cause mepa authorise a building permit near the church in Bidnija and there were a couple of more then 10 years old carrob trees and these were burnt to the ground by the owner for the building to start. This is in the square of Bidnija
Mario Joseph Azzopardi
this is a joke Kalkara Vally was full of carob trees (sigar tal-Harrub) and no one of the autorities said somthing to prtect them.