Our money and the state

Let us all admit that money is important. Sure it doesnt solve all problems but it makes life easier; our monthly bills, fuel, internet, it affects our social life, travel and even opening new businesses and opportunities and investments involve money. What I am going to focus on is the latter and what a government, in an ideal situation can do to help youth rising up to opening new businesses and other similar opportunities.

First and foremost is cliché alert – education: we need to equip our youth for the battle of a lifetime adulthood. We can only do that if we provide the necessary training and initiatives for youth to embark on investing in themselves and businesses. Courses, incentives, and scholarship are the package the government can offer to train the young. MCAST has in recent years tried to address such needs and has in fact enabled entrepreneurs and career seekers to thrive. We feel that the government should continue to invest accordingly to enable places like MCAST to continue to invest and adapt courses to an ever changing and growing national economy. The University of Malta and other institutions of higher education should continue to invest in their academic portfolio to also be equipped for a modern economy, in parallel with the efforts of the MCAST polytechnic.

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Secondly, allow the opportunities to thrive less paperwork to open a businesses, allow easy access to education (especially for employees who want to further their studies), latch on to economic opportunities such as the film and the gaming sector. Policies favouring reuse of existing buildings, financial incentives for green commercial enterprises such as those favouring renewable energy technologies; alternative modes of transport and better employment conditions.

And equally, we need good governance we need to spread the message to our citizens that their future income and livelihoods will not be at stake, that the state will be investing in you; that hard work pays off and that economic growth will benefit most of us.

Our bread and butter is at stake unless the government will allow us to prosper sensibly. A small country like Malta can act as a model for other countries and should be able to show the world how much it can achieve, despite our limited resources.

Nizar Hingary – ADŻ Malta Green Youth Treasurer

Eradicating our heritage?

What are the first few things that come up to your mind when you think of Sliema?  Well probably traffic, lack of parking and blocks of flats.  But somewhere, behind the facade of blocks of concrete we still find some remnants of the past; buildings which seem to be of another era.

Overdevelopment and the demolition of landmarks, such as old buildings seems to have become commonplace with some developers. One of the clearest examples is Sliema. While almost the entire coastal strip is now filled with monotonous concrete blocks, one might still find some of Sliema’s iconic townhouses.

The latest case of the demolishing of a 155-year old townhouse is totally unacceptable!  Buildings from the 19th Century should be given a conservation priority and not be allowed converted into flats.

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Moreover, it is shameful how, despite so many objections from NGOs, the Sliema local council and residents, such developments are given the green light.  Do the authorities ever listen to the people or are they only keen on over-developing the island and making contractors even richer than they already are?

We from ADŻ Malta Green Youth strongly oppose the demolition of our cultural heritage.  We urge the authorities to listen to us, the citizen majority and not contractors and to safeguard our heritage.  We already lost too much in the previous years and cannot afford to lose more.  It is important to act as soon as possible before it is too late and we lose even more of our limited cultural heritage we still have left!

Pascal Aloisio – ADŻ Malta Green Youth Publications Officer

Maghtab to get 22,000 solar panels

The recent proposal to install 22,000 panels at Maghtab seems pretty attractive for Malta. While indeed this decision is likely to yield more good than cause harm, nothing in this world is perfect and without an opportunity cost to consider.  Some issues will inevitably surround such projects and this brings with it several concerns.

Our first point for discussion is the issue of visual impacts. This largely depends on the type of panels used. Photovoltaic (Solar) Panels may have a high level of reflection, which could have an impact on wildlife, including birds which are attracted by these areas of panels because they mistake them for water bodies, which may result in injuries or death. But also humans may be negatively affected by the farm. Could the solar farm reflect light into drivers paths, say on the Coast Road, thus causing an obstruction to drivers?  Another visual impact that might arise is that due to power lines needed to transport energy.  We hope this won’t be the case and call for the authorities to carry out a visual impact assessment if such power lines are required.

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Speaking of Power Lines; centralised energy generation isn’t always ideal to the energy losses it incurs. Therefore it’s always better to set up solar panels directly at the place of consumption whereby this will keep energy losses at a minimal.

Finally we would also like to inquire why the area earmarked for the solar farm won’t be used for landscaping purposes as originally planned.  While it is completely understandable that the place cannot be used as a recreational area for the public due to safety reasons it would still be a good idea to make use of landscaping techniques to improve the visual aspect of the old landfill.

Overall, we from ADŻ Malta Green Youth welcome the proposal of a solar farm at Magħtab due to the past landuse of the site. It seems like benefits will outweigh the costs but it is still too early in the day to make such judgements.