Thursday, 27 August 2009

Who wants a mushroom factory next door?

Dear friends,
We would appreciate it if you can support the residents of Gharb in the cause against a mushroom factory in yet another Outside Development Zone (ODZ) and so close to the residents.

Gharb residents have joined forces this afternoon to show their anger and concerns towards the proposal of a construction of a mushroom factory on agricultural land in an outside the development zone.

The 12,000 square metre land is also few metres away from the residential area.
The residents feel that although various authorities were consulted , they were not although they were the ones who would have to suffer the consequences, including noise, traffic congestions and odours.

The heritage panet of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, the residents said, had itself stated that the factory could produce offensive odours in the vicinity of Gozo’s crafts village and a five-star Hotel, since it would be using 22,000 kilogrammes of odoriferous chicken excrement per week.

Referring to studies commissioned by the developers, on behalf of the newly set up Gharb Residents Association, I explained that the Gharb residents are also concerned that Mepa is accepting a study which was supposed to give an assessment of the impact of this proposed development on the ground water.

It seems that MEPA finds that a study which should be done by an expert hydrologist with competence and experience on the hydrology of the Maltese Islands is being sufficed by an exercise done by a geologist.

We find no comment or assessment or quantification on the potential contamination of the proposed project on the underlying aquifer – which should be the most important part of the study.
We now seem to have a replica of the great damage that has already occurred to the natural spring waters at the new Nadur Cemetary and the pain carried upon the farmers at Ghajn Qasam, simply because Mepa is just satisfied with the studies of a geologist and not of an expert hydrologist.

With regards to the emissions generated by this proposed development, we also explained that the environment impact assessement made no attempt to quantify the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would be emitted by the process of mushroom cultivation.
The aerobic/anaerobic decomposition of the manure to be used in the mushroom cultivation process was a big generator of GHG emissions.

Mr Galea said the association would ask MEPA's auditor to investigate this case.

The association called on the council to remain consistent in its stand against the development and applealed to all environmental NGOs and people who cared about the Gozitan quality of life to support residents.

Please enjoy the present countryside scenery and pay to God that this factory won't take place in this area.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Another ODZ to be destroyed: "Gozo residents are used to rural odours"

This comment by the developers of the proposed mushroom factory at the prestine agricultural lands at Ta' Dbiegi, should be deplored by all people who got some common sense.

This comment was reported this Sunday on MaltaToday by journalist James Debono.

The report says that a proposed mushroom factory earmarked for an outside development site near the five-star Kempinski San Lawrenz resort has attracted concern from MEPA’s natural heritage panel. The panel said that the factory could produce offensive odours in the vicinity of Gozo’s crafts village and the holiday resort, despite the mitigation measures being proposed by the developers.

Forget the above Kempinski Hotel for the moment....forget the crafts village for the moment....

What about the residents on Triq Frangisk Portelli (in Gharb) and the wehreabout who are just few metres away from this proposed development?
It is most arrogant that the developers of the 'farm' have claimed in an environmental planning statement that residents are used to “rural odours” since manure is used to fertilise the surrounding fields.

How can one compare the CO2 emissions, specifically the amount of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions that will be emitted by the process of the mushroom facgtory to the fertilisation added to the agricultural land once a year before ploughing takes place after the first ain?

Is it that possible that MEPA or the developers are truely not aware that the aerobic/anaerobic decomposition of the manure to be used in the mushroom cultivation process is a big generator of GHG emissions (CO2, methane, ammonia)?

Thank goodness that the Naturtal Heritage Panel commented that the odours could negatively affect the Ta’ Dbiegi crafts village and other residential units in the area. “The total elimination of these risks is well-nigh impossible,” the panel stated.

While the Environmental Project Statement (paid by the developers) says the scheme will not impact the landscape, the natural heritage panel expressed its concern on the loss of high quality agricultural land.
Much was written about this proposed development in yet another Outside Development Zone (ODZ) in Gharb way back last year. The applicant is proposing a 14,000 square meter (14 tumoli) construction within an ODZ area. The area is designated, within the relevant Local Plan, as land of agricultural value. The area is also included within the Linear Country Parkways and Circular Walking Routes in the Local Plan. The proposed development will effectively dwarf the crafts village since its total roofed area is almost twice the size of the entire crafts village.
In my opinion, one of the best contributors was a 'foreign' Gharb resident who wrote specifically on this proposed development in yet another ODZ: "Please Stop The Rape of Gozo For Ever"

Now it appears that this became a concern for the 'local' Gharb residents as well. At least they are directly concerned about what is to happen in their own backyard.
I understand that this is quite a shallow vision of what people here in Malta say that 'we like the environment'. It seems that people 'wake up' when an environmental disturbance would take place in their own vicinity. But I just hope that Gozitans will finally realize that "today it is me tomorrow it is you". So it is very important that at least now we ALL support each other.

Just a note: The developers are listed as one of the "List of persons entitled to priority boarding on the Gozo Channel Company's Vessels" together with HE the President and HE the Prim Minsiter amongst others.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

"This is the way we do it here" - Eco-Gozo a-la-PN

This morning was was quite happy to read about a 'foreign' woman who stood up to a man from the Public Cleansing Department.

This is what Francesca Vella - The Malta Independent journalist wrote:

Woman shocked by the way beach was ‘cleaned’
A reader called our offices yesterday to complain about the way personnel from the Public Cleansing Department recently cleaned a beach in Marsalforn. The reader said she was snorkelling in the clear sea with a friend at about 7.30am one day last weekend, when two men from the cleansing department arrived in a van and politely asked them to remove their belongings from a pathway leading to the sea.About six more men then turned up, picked up what large pieces of rubbish they could with their bare hands and then, according to the woman, they simply used a hosepipe to push the rest of the rubbish, which included cigarette butts, into the sea.“I was shocked and spoke to the foreman, a man named Lawrence, who refused to give me his surname or the name of his boss. He simply told me: ‘this is the way we do it’.”“They call it ‘cleaning’, but they polluted what had been clear blue sea a few minutes before”, she complained, saying that Gozo is being ruined by mismanagement and corruption.“This place is littered with omerta,” she said, adding that she recently moved to Gozo for health reasons, but was disgusted by the way things are done there.

The elected Mayor and Zebbug Councillors should be ashamed about the dilapitated state of Marsalforn, Qbajjar and Xwejni....this not to mention the people who voted for them!

Let's grow please.