ADŻ Malta Green Youth AGM

Yesterday, 29th June ADŻ Malta Green Youths’ annual general meeting (AGM) was held.  The meeting was held at 17:00 hrs at the Malta Council for the Voluntary Services in Valletta.  Our executive and members, as well as some members from AD and from FYEG attended for the AGM.

A welcoming speech was held by ADŻ Chairperson Marc’Andrea Cassar, followed by AD Chairperson Prof. Arnold Cassola and Teo Comet (Spokesperson at FYEG).

Following the welcome meeting, the agenda and minutes were approved.  The annual report was also presented.  This included some events and activities we organised, as well as some campaigns we were part of.  These included our annual Chilli Jam events we organised last summer, participation at the Interact Fair at the Marsa Open Centre, a cleanup held last September in collaboration with Y4TE at Marsaxlokk, the joining of TerraFirma collective and the spring hunting referendum campaign.  Other highlights of last year were the joining of the animal rights coalition, local council elections, the ACT fair, World Fest, joining the Front against TTIP Malta, joining Front Ħarsien ODZ and the organising of the Youth Migration Campaigning Advocacy (YMCA) seminar.

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After approval of the agenda and the statute, the new executive was elected.  The new ADŻ Malta Green Youth executive members for 2015/16 include:

  • Marc’Andrea Cassar – Chairperson
  • Stefan Cutajar – Vice Chairperson
  • Anna Azzopardi – Secretary General
  • Matthew Thomas Carbonaro – Treasurer
  • James Gabarretta – International Secretary
  • Nizar Hingari – Public Relations Officer
  • Pascal Aloisio – Publications Officer
  • Matthew Seychell – Executive Member
  • David Caruana – Executive Member

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Żonqor Saga

Once upon a time on the tiny island of Malta, there was a certain Labour Party (iii dawn minhuma?!) that promised way back in 2013, that environmental awareness and heritage will be one of the top priorities, after the disastrous GonziPN environmental record (let us not forget 2006 the diminishing ODZ boundaries).  Once again, the people have been duped into PN #2 and nothing different has been offered.  Labour, as of 2015, has been involved in numerous scandals such as Café Premier and obscenities of sending a ministers’ wife on a payroll of 13,000 euros a month just to get Chinas’ attention, even though we all know, that China has excellent relations with Malta, and the numerous billboard jobs etc. etc. and etc.

The Zonqor Saga is one of these obscenities – the continuing destruction of the ODZ principle for profit.  There is nothing, which justifies this development for a number of reasons:

  • ODZ !!!!!
  • A private university will benefit those who can afford very highly priced courses
  • Plenty of abandoned historical buildings that can be used for an educational facility – which can also promote heritage inspired tourism.
  • ‘Tas-Sawt’ argument/debate holds no ground in Malta considering the size of Malta (27km x 16km)
  • The impact on traffic and property prices has not been studied.

We will not forget that this project was not listed on the electoral manifesto – like so many others (remember the passport for sale scheme) – in these past two years of Labour.

Protecting Zonqor is protecting Malta.

Nizar Hingari (ADŻ Malta Green Youth PRO)

40 Storeys is too much for Sliema

It seems like nothing is ever tall enough to satisfy the construction industry.  A good example of this is the latest proposal for a 40 floor building at Tigne.  40 storeys means this will almost be twice the height of Portomaso Business Tower in St. Julians.

One might ask why 40 storeys is too much, considering the area is already excessively urbanised and since it is one of those six localities were high rise buildings can be developed.  In addition, the environmental impact on land will not be as bad as for instance the proposed development at Żonqor.

The first impression one might have is that the overall social, economic and environmental impacts do not tend to be negative.  However, this project can lead to negative impacts.

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The first issue we have here is that related to the infrastructure.  As many might already know, Sliema is a tourist hotspot, it has a substantial number of residents, very few parking spaces and an excessive amount of traffic.  Keeping in mind that when a 23 storey building was proposed in the area, the impact assessment of this project stated that traffic in this area would increase by some 27,000 cars.  Imagine the impact a 40 storey tower will have on Sliema’s infrastructure.  Residents in Sliema are already facing significant problems due to traffic.  This project will make matters worse.  In fact the Sliema local council already stated that unless a metro is created the project should be scrapped.

The second issue which results from development is the increased level of pollution.  Pollution levels will not only increase due to increased traffic caused by this development, but also due to the building itself.  The more high rise buildings are constructed, the more pollution will be trapped in the urban jungle.  This will lead to significant health issues ranging from asthma to cancer.

The third issue is the financial problems which could arise through this development.  The first thing that must be considered is who will pay for the metro that will have to be created.  Increased traffic will lead to increased pollution, leading to increased health diseases, which in turn will lead to increased expenses for medication.

Additionally, the environmental impact statement of the proposed 23 storey tower showed that such high rise buildings will lead to shading of the seashore.  This is problematic because people, particularly tourists, could eventually abandon such areas since they visit our island mainly due to the sunny weather we have.  If for instance the project will lead to increased shading of a popular bathing area, people will abandon this place and go to another area.  This will lead to more crowded areas elsewhere, which can lead to social and possibly also economic issues.

To conclude, such high rise projects should be well planned and evaluated before approved because they can lead to a very unsustainable outcome, ranging from environmental and economic effects to social and health issues.  Therefore we from ADŻ Malta Green Youth strongly discourage this development.

Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)

National Protest to Save Żonqor

Thousands of citizens this morning joined the national protest by Front Harsien ODZ to save Żonqor point.  It is estimated that the total number of participants was 3,000 and more.

As member of ADŻ Malta Green Youth and as an activist, I’ve joined several protests over the years.  However, I cannot remember to have ever seen such a large crowd protesting in our capital city.  Several activists, organisations, politicians from all parties and citizens were present.

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The proposed university will be built on natural and semi-natural land outside the development zone.  Such ODZ land should not be built up.  Urban development has drastically increased over the last 50 years.  While we encourage investment in education, this should be done in a sustainable manner.  Since we’ve already lost a substantial part of our countryside due to increased urban development, it does not make sense to take more land on such a tiny island.  We already have limited space and our green areas have already experienced a significant downward trend.

I would like to thank all those who participated in today’s protest.  Only if we all unite as a nation can we succeed to stop another environmental disaster.

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Pascal Aloisio (ADŻ Malta Green Youth Executive Member)

Why we should save Zonqor

Addressing the press this morning, ADZ – Malta Green Youth re-affirmed its unwavering
commitment to the principle of sustainable development.

Referring to the proposed private university development on ODZ land in Zonqor, the Green
Youths stated that although they believed in the value of education as a fundamental pillar of
society and the need for further investment, the proposed development would serve no practical
purpose or benefit for the Maltese or the South. Such a project, they added, was of a commercial
nature, not an educational one, and should be treated as such.

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Unfortunately ADŻ are aware that this is not an isolated case of development on ODZ. There are
more cases, such as the Shooting Range in Mosta, the Hotel in Mellieħa, Schools in Għaxaq,
Racetrack in Qrendi, Qala Yacht, which are the ones we actually know about. Nothing can condone
the use of ODŻ, since the repercussions of building on ODŻ will in the long term far outweigh the
benefits.

The Green Youths insisted that the government needs to protect our few remaining green open
spaces instead of giving them away to private commercial interests. It made no sense, they
concluded, to sacrifice our collective quality of life and giving away our few remaining green
spaces for short term financial gain.

Marc’Andrea Cassar – Chairperson MaltaGreenYouth