Mqabba: When will the institutions start protecting the common citizen?

The proposal for  ‘crushing on site’ and ‘stock piling’ in an Mqabba quarry will not only be damaging to the environment but also will be detrimental to the physical and mental health of the nearby residents. The institutions that are meant to protect the common citizen are failing to do this. ADPD – The Green Party has always objected to these projects that impact negatively the quality of life of the ordinary citizen, while the operators continue to line their pockets. ADPD – The Green Party spokespersons today addressed a press conference close to the site of the proposed stone crushing activity in Mqabba this morning.

ADPD – The Green Party Deputy Secretary General Dr Melissa Bagley said that the PA0350/22 application proposes the execution of stone crushing on site and stock piling in the open, among other developments. This application is objectionable on multiple fronts.

The main impact that will be suffered by the residents and children who attend the primary school on a daily basis will be the large amount of dust generated from the activity in this quarry. Noise is also an issue as studies repeatedly have indicated that this impacts on both the physical and mental health. ERA has already stopped the quarry’s operation following repeated complaints from residents.

We have been informed that until the activity was stopped by ERA, the quarry was operating from as early as 4 o’clock in the morning all day long to as late as 9pm. Many residents had submitted their complaints to ERA, eventually this took the necessary action.

It is unacceptable to postpone the consideration of the issue of dust and noise to the environmental permitting stage as these matters are also a planning issue. ADPD – The Green Party has submitted its objection to the application on these grounds and has asked for the application to be refused, concluded Bagley.

ADPD – The Green Party Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said that the party  has always objected to projects like these being proposed so close to residential areas because they continue impact negatively the quality of life of the ordinary citizen, while the operators continue to line their pockets.

ADPD – The Green Party has been aware of the inconveniences being caused by this quarry and increasing its activity is definitely not  an option!  When the prevailing wind blowing in the direction of the residences and the school blankets the whole are in dust, one can imagine what this means for the respiratory system of both residents and school children.

Around twenty years ago, the authority responsible for land use planning, MEPA, had published a Minerals Subject Plan for the Maltese Islands. The plan had, in part, focused on the impact such activity leaves on third parties, primary from dust and noise pollution.

Among other things, it states that planning permits will seek to regulate noise impacts through restricting operating hours and the setting of permissible maximum noise levels. The regulation of dust impacts in the said plan recommends considering the direction of prevailing winds and that stock piles are always kept covered.

However this plan seems to have disappeared from the Planning Authority’s website. Moreover, the Environmental Health Directorate has failed to make any submissions on the negative health impacts of noise and dust generated as a result of these operations.

The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) on the other hand, lists a number of conditions to be adhered to. However these measures should be an integral part of both an eventual planning permit as well as the standard operational permit issued by ERA itself.

The Department of Education – which is responsible for the Mqabba Primary School which almost borders the quarry in question – and the Mqabba Local Council have so far remained silent. Once again, the institutions that are meant to protect the common citizen from such proposals are failing to do so.

Similar operations situated so close to residents and even a school are not to be considered. “It is utterly unacceptable that commercial operators continue to disregard the residents’ plight. The residents’ quality of life should be prioritised in practice, and not just with meaningless words,” concluded Cacopardo.

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L-Imqabba: L-istituzzjonijiet meta sejrin jibdew jipproteġu liċ-ċittadin komuni? 

Il-proposta ta’ tkissir ta` żrar fuq il-post f’barriera fl-Imqabba mhux biss huwa ta dannu għall-ambjent tal-madwar imma huwa ta’ ħsara għas-saħħa kemm fiżika kif ukoll mentali tar-residenti. L-istituzzjonijiet li suppost jipproteġu liċ-ċittadin komuni minn proġetti ta’ dan it-tip qegħdin jonqsu milli jagħmlu dan. ADPD – The Green Party minn dejjem oġġezzjona għal żviluppi bħal dawn li jkomplu jgħarrqu il-kwalità tal-ħajja tal-Maltin u l-Għawdxin filwaqt li l-operaturi jkomplu jħaxxnu bwiethom. Dan qaluh il-kelliema ta’ ADPD – The Green Party meta indirizzaw konferenza stampa fl-Imqabba dalgħodu.

Id-Deputat Segretarju Ġenerali ta’ ADPD – The Green Party, Dr Melissa Bagley qalet li l-applikazzjoni PA0350/22 tinkludi tkissir fuq il-post u ħażna ta’ żrar fil-miftuħ, fost affarijiet oħra.  Din l-applikazzjoni hija oġġezzjonabbli għal diversi raġunijiet.

L-impatt ewlieni li se jkunu qegħdin isofru ir-residenti u t-tfal li jattendu l-iskola primarja ta’ kuljum huwa l-ammont kbir ta’ trabijiet li jiġuġġenerat minn l-attività fil-barriera. Hemm ukoll l-istorbju li kif urew studji ripetutament jaffettwa ukoll is-saħħa ta’ kulħadd. Diġà l-ERA waqqfet l-operazzjoni tal-barriera fuq ilment tan-nies, wara li dawn kienu ilhom ħafna jilmentaw.

Aħna infurmati li sakemm twaqqfet mill-ERA, l-attività f’din il-barriera ġieli kienet tibda minn kmieni, saħansitra fl-4 ta’ filgħodu u kienet tibqa’ sejra anke sa’ tard bil-lejl, sad-9 ta’ filgħaxija. Kienu diversi r-residenti li ressqu l-ilmenti tagħhom biex l-ERA fl-aħħar aġixxiet.

Mhux aċċettabbli li l-impatti tat-trabijiet u l-ħsejjes jiġu kkonsidrati biss fl-istadju tal-permess ambjentali, għaliex dawn huma wkoll ta’ natura ta’ ippjanar. ADPD – The Green Party ressqet oġġezzjoni għal din l-applikazzjoni minħabba dan kollu u qegħdin nitolbu biex din tiġi rifjutata, temmet Bagley.

Iċ-Chairperson ta’ ADPD – The Green Party Carmel Cacopardo qal li l-partit minn dejjem oġġezzjona għal żviluppi bħal dawn viċin żoni residenzjali li jkomplu jgħarrqu il-kwalità tal-ħajja tal-Maltin u l-Għawdxin filwaqt li l-operaturi jkomplu jħaxxnu bwiethom.

ADPD – The Green Party ilu jirċievi ilmenti dwar dak li kien għaddej f’din il-barriera u żgur mhux il-każ li din l-attività tiżdied! Bit-trabijiet li wieħed jista’ jara b’għajnejh meta l-irjieħ jonfħu fid-direzzjoni tar-residenzi wieħed jimmaġina dan x’ifisser għas-sistemi respiratorji tar-residenti u tat-tfal fl-iskola primarja.

Madwar 20 sena ilu, il-MEPA kienet ippubblikat ‘Minerals Subject Plan’ għall-gżejjer Maltin dwar ir-regolamentazzjoni tal-barrieri. Dak il-pjan kien in parti jiffoka fuq l-impatt li operazzjonijiet ta’ dan it-tip kienu jħallu fuq terzi persuni, b’mod partikolari għar-rigward ta’ trabijiet u ħsejjes.

Fost affarijiet oħra, dan il-pjan kien indika li permessi tal-ippjanar kellhom jaraw li jiġi minimizzat l-impatt tal-istorbju billi jiġu ristretti il-ħinijiet tal-operat u jiġu stabbiliti livelli massimi ta’ ħsejjes permissibbli. Fejn jidħlu trabijiet, il-pjan kien jirrakkomanda li jiġu studjati id-direzzjoni tar-riħ u li ż-żrar maħżun għandu jkun mgħotti. Imma dan il-pjan jidher li sparixxa minn fuq is-sit elettroniku tal-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar.

Fl-applikazzjoni tal-lum id-Direttorat tas-Saħħa Ambjentali naqas milli jagħmel s-sottomissjonijiet tiegħu kif l-impatti negattivi mill-ħsejjes u t-trabijiet iġġenerati għandhom effett fuq is-saħħa.

L-ERA min-naħa tagħha għamlet numru ta’ kondizzjonijiet li wieħed madankollu għandu jara li, jekk jinħareġ permess, jiġu inklużi fi kwalunkwe permess li jingħata kemm tal-ippjanar kif ukoll dak operattiv mill-ERA innifisha.

Kemm id-Dipartiment tal-Edukazzjoni – meta l-iskola primarja kważi tmiss mas-sit tal-barriera innifisha – kif ukoll il-Kunsill Lokali tal-Imqabba s’issa baqgħu siekta. Għal darboħra, l-istituzzjonijiet li suppost jipproteġu liċ-ċittadin komuni minn proġetti ta’ dan it-tip qegħdin jonqsu milli jagħmlu dan.

Impjanti simili mhux posthom daqshekk viċin ta’ residenti u saħansitra skola. “Huwa inaċċettabbli li operaturi kummerċjali jiġu jaqgħu u jqumu mir-residenti.”

“Il-kwalità tal-ħajja tan-nies għandha tiġi mħarsa bil-fatti u mhux bil-paroli”, temm jgħid Cacopardo.

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