As we know, the hunters are once again rejoicing their love for killing birds as a ‘sport’ (an unfair balance, if we do say so ourselves!) and more joy for the political parties who have once again shown that votes count more than the environments’ wellbeing, morals of hunting and the scientific proof that hunting is no longer sustainable during the spring period. Hunting is a necessity; in the 17th century! Nowadays it’s all about the gun, the man and the poor defenseless birds that are shot during spring time which time again has been proven to be anything but sustainable.
Malta is one of the few countries, or the only one that allows spring hunting against the wishes of the EU due to the very threat of extinction of bird’s species. Yet the hunters’ lobby, the FKNK, refuted this and went for the “protect our traditions and culture” argument and that fireworks and other hobbies in Malta will also face the ban! Totally untrue – fireworks do not lead to the extinction of bird species and unfortunately we have not found the correlation between culture and hunting – it’s like saying you are not culturally Maltese if you supported the Shout movement.
Unfortunately the scaremongering campaign of the IVA and the lobbying of the PL/PN coalition transformed this referendum into a political PARTY in the chaotic sense and led to a slim majority win for the IVA people.
On the other hand, results show that half the population are against hunting in spring and results would have been different 10 years ago. Time is showing that spring hunting is fading, the EU pressure is great and the latest news in 24/4/2015 of a Dutch boy shot by a hunter, as well as the killing of protect birds – prove the unsustainability of spring hunting. We wish a quick recovery to the boy in question and that #josephzommkelmtek
Nizar Hingari (ADŻ Malta Green Youth PRO)
Last Saturday, 4th April, ADŻ Malta Green Youth went on a hike. The point of this hike was to go out in the Maltese countryside in order to enjoy the beautiful landscape of this area and to make people aware of the beauty and importance of our countryside.
The hike started at the Red Tower in Mellieha, also known as Saint Agatha’s tower, which was built by the Knights of St. John. From here we walked down to the Foresta 2000 afforestation site. The relatively large site, covering some 300,000 square metres, was established in 2002 and several thousand native trees and shrubs were planted. Here we observed several trees such as the Maltese national tree, the Sandarac Gum Tree, Carob trees, Cypress, Aleppo pines and more, as well as several shrubs such as the Olive-leaved Germander and Maltese Spurge, among others.
We also noted two structures called ‘Girna’ in Maltese. These small structures built from lose rocks were used by farmers in order to rest from the sun in summer or from bad weather in winter. They also served as a storage place for fodder or tools. These two structures were restored and can now be enjoyed by the public. After a while we spotted what is though to be a old Punic tomb.
We then continued our hike and started walking up a steep track where we observed an old pillbox which was built by the British Armed Forces during WWII. On our way up, we also visited the old beehives which are though to be of Roman times or even older. Although these particular beehives are not more in use, the area around the Red Tower is still known for its honey production, mainly due to the aromatic flowers and shrubs found here.
After walking up some stairs we arrived back at the top were we were surrounded by garrigue. This is the most common type of habitat in the Maltese Islands and is characterised by low-lying shrubs. On our way to the old radar station we spotted some Pyramidal Orchids. Then we arrived at the old radar station which was used by the U.S. Air force for radio traffic between their old base in Libya and the bases they had in Sicily. However the site was largely dismantled in 1970 and currently only the ruins remain except the radar which is currently used by the Malta Maritime Authority.
Following a short break we headed towards a cave. On our way we crossed a footpath which was surrounded by old trapping sites which were mainly used for the capturing of Turtle Doves. Following the visit at the cave we started heading back to the Red Tower.
Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)
In 2013 it was estimated that every person in Malta generated some 570kg of waste. This is higher than the EU average of 481kg. Although across the EU the amount of waste each year tends to be on the decline, we are still clearly producing significant amounts.
While in many countries landfilling is substantially declining and recycling has been occurring over a long time period, unfortunately in Malta landfilling in 2013 was still the most common type of waste treatment method. With an estimated 88% of waste being landfilled Malta is in second place after Romania, where 97% of waste is landfilled. This is a substantial amount and should be reduced.
Malta is a small islands and we do not have enough place where to landfill such high amounts of waste. Although large improvements have been made over the last decade, where waste is not more dumped but engineered, landfilling is now used and where recycling has increased substantially, more can be done to reduce landfilling.
We talk about the 3 Rs. These are reduce, re-use and recycle. If we want to improve this situation we have to start reducing our consumption of products which generate excess waste by buying products which have less packaging material, such as fresh products like fruit and vegetables. We should also re-use certain products such as bags rather than buying new plastic bags each time we go shopping.
Finally we should start recycling more. Many materials we use can be recycled. One must make sure, however, that the waste to be recycled is not dirty. Additionally we should start separating waste which can be used for composting. Such waste would result in free fertilizers for farmers which is also organic, hence farmers will require less artificial fertilizers; this will not only improve farming from an environmental point of view, but also from an economic point of view since farmers typically obtain such compost free of charge.
A very important process for reducing waste is education. Unfortunately many people in Malta still do not separate their waste properly, or do not recycle at all. The general public should be more aware of waste and the problems it causes, and what can be done to reduce this problem. This can be done by advertisement campaigns, increasing bring-in-sites and creating public debates and seminars in order to raise awareness about waste and its disposal.
Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)