Speaking at a press conference in Qala, Gozo, Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson Dr Harry Vassallo said that the extraordinary damage caused to the landscape by hardstone quarries is an unforgivable extravagance. "It has been more than a decade since MEPA itself surveyed the situation in its Minerals Topic paper and made several valuable recommendations which have been allowed to blow away in the wind." Dr Vassallo said.
"In the past 10 years a bad situation has been allowed to deteriorate with further extensive damage being done to our natural and heritage assets all of which could have been easily avoided." Dr Vassallo said. "All hardstone material required for concrete and roadmaking can be imported at lower costs if government got off its hands and removed the indirect taxation making such importation uneconomic." Dr Vassallo said.
"The Qala hardstone quarries are a gigantic eyesore which could easily be rehabilitated to restore a significant stretch of Gozitan countryside to its pristine state. Instead of causing damage to the site and affecting a further stretch of countryside around its periphery this quarry area could be a fruitful agri-tourism centre providing jobs and profits for its workers and operators." Dr Vassallo said.
"For the past ten years regardless of the careful documentation of the situation by its own agencies this government has done nothing at all to address the harm." Dr Vassallo said. "The government has left operators bound to existing market conditions with no programme of reform of the sector in which they can address their energies to turn eyesores into profit-making enterprises. As in many other sectors government has failed to provide direction making it impossible for even those operators who recognise the grim future they are creating for themselves and for others, to continue to founder." Dr Vassallo added.
"The Qala quarry is just one of very many such quarries all over the country which are a liability which could turn into a significant asset. Almost all hardstone quarries are located in superb countryside areas and all are candidates for rural development projects benefiting from EU funds aimed at creating income for residents and enterprises in rural areas." Dr Vassallo said.
"Not only are the quarries themselves a huge wasted resource, but the operators and their employees are also a vital resource to bring about positive change which remains unrecognised by the government." Dr Vassallo said. "If the government had the imagination to come up with a proposal, if it had the courage to make it and to seek authentic consultation with all stake holders, if it had the credibility to persuade them that it could be relied upon, what today is an ongoing environmental disaster can be turned into a source of income, employment, profit and also a project in which all Maltese and Gozitans can take pride." Dr Vassallo said.
"Instead the government participates in the corrosive symbiosis of politics and big money perpetuating the status quo, preventing escape for all concerned from the downward spiral of uglification, and loss of potential of our economy for the future." Dr Vassallo said. "As long as the two big parties continue to require millions of liri to fund their election campaigns, they will not allow such industries to restructure to their benefit and to the benefit of the whole country. What is needed is the ability to recognise our problems, to face them with courage and to have the conviction to transform them into opportunities. Simply carrying on as before already has no future." Dr Vassallo said.
Being AD spokesman it is high time AD publishes these photos in the papers IN FULL BLOODY COLOUR. This is completely outrageous behaviour and it is a sacrilege that MEPA and our so called Environment Ministry play the three deaf-blind-dumb monkeys role. I have heard whispers of these goings on but PHOTOS tell the story so much better - SO GO ON AND PUBLISH....I assure you you will not be damned - instead you might get my vote as I am sick and tired of the so-called big parties.
The aim of this topic on the forum is exactly fast publishing of illegal craziness to the detriment of our environment. I admit that it has not a big effect as the newspapers, but I feel that they and rest of media (TV, radio) do not give AD enough exposure and space.
The posts here remeains permanentely, so as all the internet world could see what happens in Malta and a reference internet link can be used for future references such as in emails (you need to copy the URL in the browser Address box)
I agree, my next vote would not be wasted on parties who put environment last in their priority list. The opposition party (whoever it is) only use the environment issue as a puppet to attract votes, and when they have the power, the puppet is tossed away!
AD Gozo, you have my full support on this forum, and hope AD Malta will do the same.
It is good to note that after the above pictures were forwarded to MEPA ( not by me by the way ) MEPA today issued a press release
( see Times today 11 Jan ).
I say it is a weak knee-jerk reaction by our supposed environment protector - shame on them.
But at least xi haga iccaqalqet.....
http://adgozo.mizzisoft.com/?news=1344& ... ype=SLIDES