[WATCH] Extension of Bulebel industrial estate would cause disastrous increase in flooding

Maltese painted frog would be further disturbed by the development and flooding would increase, NGO warns

'The heavy rain experienced in the last hours proved that the valley system is still active as an important watercourse with large volumes of water rushing through Wied iż-Żring and crossing Sqaq tad-Dawra.' – Wirt iz-Zejtun
'The heavy rain experienced in the last hours proved that the valley system is still active as an important watercourse with large volumes of water rushing through Wied iż-Żring and crossing Sqaq tad-Dawra.' – Wirt iz-Zejtun
'Wied iż-Żrinġ is part of the valley tributary system which starts from Wied Betta at Ħal Luqa and Bir Miftuħ at Gudja.  These two valley courses join together at Wied Ġarnaw between Santa Luċija, Gudja and Ħal Għaxaq.  The route continues by crossing Tal-Barrani at il-Maqgħad to Wied iż-Żrinġ.  Then continues to Wied Mazzam Wied iż-Żiju and ends up at il-Magħluq at Marsaskala.' - Wirt iz-Zejtun
'Wied iż-Żrinġ is part of the valley tributary system which starts from Wied Betta at Ħal Luqa and Bir Miftuħ at Gudja. These two valley courses join together at Wied Ġarnaw between Santa Luċija, Gudja and Ħal Għaxaq. The route continues by crossing Tal-Barrani at il-Maqgħad to Wied iż-Żrinġ. Then continues to Wied Mazzam Wied iż-Żiju and ends up at il-Magħluq at Marsaskala.' - Wirt iz-Zejtun
'Wied iż-Żrinġ was an important habitat for the Maltese Painted Frog, a species which is only found in Malta and Sicily.' – Wirt iz-Zejtun
'Wied iż-Żrinġ was an important habitat for the Maltese Painted Frog, a species which is only found in Malta and Sicily.' – Wirt iz-Zejtun


Recent heavy rainfall highlighted the increased risk of flooding in the area of the Bulebel Industrial Estate, if it were to be extended.

This is because part of the area is a location called Wied iz-Zring, a valley which is identified as an Area of Ecological Importance and Site of Scientific Importance.

Apart from this, the surrounding land has been identified as a Valley Protection Zone, NGO Wirt iz-Zejtun wrote.

The amount of rain reported in by the meteorological office yesterday was 86mm. “If the area being requested as an extension to the industrial estate (amounting to 120,000 sqr m) had to be built, this translates into an additional volume of over 10,000 cubic metres of water passing through Ġebel San Martin and San Klement area,”

“Thus flooding of the area will definitely increase.”

The area is an important water course, and the species in the area would be threatened by the development. “Wied iż-Żrinġ was an important habitat for the Maltese Painted Frog, a species which is only found in Malta and Sicily.  This habitat was severely disturbed when the Bulebel Industrial Estate started being built in the 1960s and was extended in the early 1970s.”

Read more: Alternatives to Zejtun agricultural land being considered for industrial estate expansion – Muscat

Wirt iz-Zejtun had already sent a request to the Office of the Prime Minister back in 2015 for the land not to be developed, the President of the NGO Ruben Abela told Illum. Abela said that they were under the impression that their request was considered, but found out that by the end of 2017, a number of farmers were ordered to vacate.

There are at least five farmers working the land in the area, as well as a large number of protected trees, some of which are tens of years old, Abela said.

A beekeeper also works nearby, and if the carob trees are destroyed, the country will also lose an important honey producer. One of the farmers who was ordered to leave owns about 70% of carob trees in his field alone, Abela said.

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