Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Provision Of An Efficient and Ecological Transport System in Gozo

Can you say that again please?

To a non-green individual, such a statement may sound bizarre.

To a green person, the notion to improve the ecological efficiency of the land and marine public transport system is a must.

Much has been said about eco-Gozo especially before last general election.

Last week-end the Association of Local Councils, organised a seminar at Ta' Cenc Hotel. The Green Party Leader, Arnold Cassola, was invited as an observer. It was announced that preparations were under way for the joint signing, by all the 14 Gozitan Mayors, of the European Local Council Agreement.

By supporting such a holistic vision, the Gozitan Local Mayors have made a significant step forward towards the elimination of the petty divisions which characterize local politics in these islands, especially in Gozo. The European Local Council Agreement lays strong emphasis on the reconversion of the public transport system in European cities with a view to reduce pollution and energy waste while at the same time render it more sustainable and provide a better service to the citizens.

Now, Gozo has a golden opportunity to reduce pollution caused by present public transport system, both by sea and on land, whilst, at the same time, to provide an excellent service which make sense in today`s needs.

The reform in the public transport system in Gozo should ensure that all public transport vehicles, including buses and minibuses, should be powered by hydrogen, methane gas or electrical energy to reduce air pollution which is causing so much harm to people`s health. It is a pity that bio-diesel is still not available on the island of Gozo.

With regard to transport by sea, Alternattiva Demokratika would like to remind Government that this is the year when Gozo Channel`s monopoly in the provision of the public sea transport to and from Gozo has to come to an end. AD therefore strongly recommends to the Minister concerned that, apart from provisions safeguarding the employment of all the workers involved and all the social aspects, a clause should also be included, in the new tender, binding the winning tenderer to reduce to a minimum the pollution and energy consumption levels by the ships providing the service.

The Malta Government should not once again lose the opportunity, as happened in the past, to apply for funds from the European Union through the Marco Polo Program, whose call for applications opened again on the 10 February this year. Arnold Cassola added that these funds would help the Company, awarded the tender, to expand the transport of all merchandize from San Maison as well as from the Feeport, to Mgarr port and vice-versa, thereby reducing substantially the pollution, transport costs, road damage and traffic jams now resulting from the overland transport of goods by huge lorries.

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