[WATCH] Green activists camp outside Castille in environment protest, public urged to join

Activists to remain camped outside Auberge de Castille until they feel that their message has been heard and understood

Environmental activists erect tents outside Castille
Environmental activists erect tents outside Castille
Kamp Emergenza Ambjent erects a list of demands at Castille Square
Kamp Emergenza Ambjent erects a list of demands at Castille Square
Green activists camp outside Castille in environment protest

A group of activists have erected tents outside Castille in protest against further environmental destruction.

The 25 tents are labeled with the names of past and planned projects that have damaged or pose a threat to the environment – including the construction of Portomaso and a proposed swimming pool by archaeological remains at Ta’ Hagrat.

Inspired by similar action taken by civil society abroad, the group came together through a spontaneous flash mob. They are now encouraging other citizens who are against environmental destruction to pack a sleeping bag or a tent and join them outside Castille.

They have also urged the Planning Authority not to process most applications for development on ODZ land.

“Malta is by far the most built-up country in the EU, and yet new large projects that will destroy the environment are still being proposed,” Andre Callus from pressure group Moviment Graffiti told the press. “The environmental situation in Malta has become an emergency, and its ongoing destruction poses a threat to the country’s future.

“It poses a threat to our quality of life, and our right to health, unpolluted air, and access to green spaces. We will stay here until we feel that our message has been heard and understood.”

The activists were clear, however, in warning that members of parliament and politicians were not welcome. "If they want to do something, they have other fora where to go or action they could take. Both parties are guilty of the destruction of the environment.

"The same people who destroyed the environment for their selfish interests are the same people living in villas with pools surrounded by greenery. The rest of the people are surrounded by construction: Malta is now a desert of buildings and smoke."

Specifically, these citizens want government to withdraw plans for the construction of a university in Zonqor, the proposed fuel depot in Has Saptan and the recent approval of an extension to the Ramla Bay Hotel.

The aim of Kamp Emergenza Ambjent is to develop a space where the common citizen can voice their concern about the environment.

"We believe that both Nationalist and Labour administrations have pursued a policy of favouring the few wealthy businessperson, contractors and developers at the expense of the environment and the general population.

"To protect our future, we have to show that we care for the environment and that we are ready to put real pressure on Malta's political elite."

The people, they said, have lost tracts of public land to private interests through projects such as Portomaso, SmartCity and Tigne Point: “A number of people here today have been at the forefront in opposing these projects. We ask: who has benefitted from this massive grab of public land and intense development? We are convinced that the majority did not gain anything from such projects.

“We now see history repeating itself with the proposition of Sadeen’s private institute at Zonqor and Dock 1. We are also seeing a return to past times with regards to ODZ boundaries. After the infamous removal of land from ODZ boundaries by George Pullicino in 2006, [deputy prime minister] Louis Grech last February declared that there will be further ‘tweaking’.”

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