Most of us know Castille with the small roundabout and its trees. However, all this greenery is gone now. We can now enjoy more concrete and tarmac!
While the decision to make the area more pedestrian friendly and the idea of a more open space is a good thing, the trees should not have been removed. While almost everywhere in the world cities are working to become greener and more environmentally friendly by planting more trees, we are doing the exact opposite in Malta.
The first thing many of us realise when we enter the capital city is the lack of greenery. The removal of these trees has added to this lack of greenery, where we can now observe additional concrete and tarmac. Many people were against this decision. In fact in 2006, a poll by the Times of Malta showed that a vast majority of respondents were against the removal of these trees. 4,146 voted against, while only 651 respondents were in favour of removing the trees.
Although the trees are said to have been moved to other places in Malta, therefore not suffering total destruction, they should have at least been re-planted around the square. This would have led to open space and the greenery formerly found in the area would have remained there.
ADZ Malta Green Youth strongly opposes this decision. Trees are vital for cities, especially in such a place as Valletta, which already lacks a significant amount of greenery. Therefore we suggest that new plants and trees should be planted, at least around the new open space. Moreover, smaller trees could also be planted in large pots across the new concrete square. A good example is Msida, where olive trees and several other small plants have been planted in large pots around the entire town. This action significantly improved the visual aspect of Msida and the same implies for Valletta.
Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)