Nature Trust Malta - News

Wed, Jun 15, 2016

Press Release 15 June 2016

MSCAST Students do Environmental conservation work at Wied Ghollieqa Nature Reserve

Students studying Environmental Conservation and Sustainability at MCAST, together with one of their lecturers Dr Eman Calleja dedicated a half day conservation work at the Wied Ghollieqa Nature Reserve managed by Nature Trust (Malta)
The students focused on the removal of invasive alien species in the valley bed, clearing almost a tumolo of land from the Castor Oil tree and other aliens. Seeds of these species are carried every year into the site by rain water currents coming from the San Gwann Industrial Estate and the Mater Dei Hospital. Furthermore the students also removed litter that is brought into the site by rain water currents and by people visiting the valley. The students and the Lecturer were joined by the NTM Wied Ghollieqa Site Manager Ms Louise Bajjada.
The Wied Ghollieqa project started way back in the late 1980s when students members of Arbor managed to stop heavy development planned for the valley area. Over the years kilometres of rubble walls were restored and thousands of trees and shrubs were planted by the Nature Trust (Malta) Volunteers. Today these form a healthy semi-natural Mediterranean schlerophyllous Woodland. Trees include the Carob tree, the Aleppo Pine, the Holm Oak, the Sandarac Tree, the Mediterranean Dwarf Palm and Olive trees.
The valley is being ecologically restored and today houses a large number of fauna and avi fauna in this green lung located right between Kappara and the University of Malta. The reserve has also been declared a Nataura 2000 site of National Importance.
This Nature Reserve is open to the public to enjoy and is also used by students to study environmental education, scientific research and also other conservation projects.
Nature Trust (Malta) would like to thank all the students for giving up part of their free time towards the conservation of our Natural Heritage. It also appeals to the public who may note vandalism in the area to report these either to the Police or Nature Trust (Malta) on 21313150 or by email info@naturetrustmalta.org

Sat, Feb 13, 2016

Press Release 13 February 2016

NTM expresses concern over unsustainable proposals at Wied Ghomor – ODZ site

 

Nature Trust (Malta) joins in the concerns raised by the Swieqi Local Council and the San Gwann Local council over the the proposed development of a tourist village in an ODZ valley between the two localities.
NTM feels that the way ODZ areas are being treated by the authorities is a major concern today and has simply become a rubber band in the hands of our politicians in the last 15 years leading to numerous unsustainable developments.
Wied Ghomor is a valley system offering a variety of fauna and flora and also acting as the green lung for two densely populated villages – Swieqi and San Gwann. The development if approved will further contribute to the destruction of this green belt, cause more air pollution due to added traffic and will become another unsustainable project approved by our national authorities who should be safeguarding the remaining ODZ areas.

Wied Ghomor forms part of a valley system cutting into the lower coralline limestone, which is crucial in the replenishment of the mean sea level aquifer. Any form of development would render this natural infiltration impossible. Just a few weeks ago, the media also reported the redevelopment of an old people’s home in a quarry further up in this valley.

Such use of abandoned land in ODZ and in water catchment areas for development purposes should be refused and instead landscaped and restored to mimic the original state of the valley system and so contain the ever increasing threats to our diminishing aquifers.

NTM strongly opposes this proposed development and calls on MEPA to pull up its stocks and act to stop this craze of ODZ developments. ODZ applications should be the exception not the rule with many applications being filed.

Wed, Jan 6, 2016

Event: Launch of MEDTRENDS Report

Nature Trust Malta in collaboration with the European Commission Representation in Malta is proud to invite you for the launch of the results of the MEDTRENDS project, a Med Programme funded project on Wednesday,13th January 2016 at 10:00am at Europe House, 254, St. Paul Street, Valletta.

The launch of the MedTrends project will celebrate the completion of a Mediterranean-wide project aimed at carrying out an overall analysis of growth trends and potential cumulative impacts of human activities at sea, with an emphasis on the achievement of the Good Environmental Status (GES) objective set by the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). MedTrends has been scoped to illustrate and map the most likely future scenarios of marine economic growth at a national and transnational level in Med-EU countries.
A number of over-arching sectors have been chosen for this exercise. As far as Malta’s reporting is concerned, relevant themes such as maritime transport, extraction of living and non-living resources, coastal infrastructure, land-based activities, and waste disposal were assessed. The local report forms part of a collection of other national reports compiled by the MedTrends partners, together with a transnational report which outlines scenarios for the future development.
By means of this project, Nature Trust (Malta) is presenting a number of important viewpoints and recommendations in order to assist national authorities towards achieving GES of the local marine environment by 2020.
The partners in the MEDTRENDS project want to promote a common and integrated management of maritime space among all the involved stakeholders and an approach that takes into consideration the overall picture. A healthy marine environment must be at the heart of the integrated management of the Mediterranean.
Copies of the report will be made available on the MEDTRENDS page during the launch event.

Partners in the MEDTRENDS project:
– WWF-France
– WWF-MedPO in partnership with WWF-Italy
– WWF-Greece
– WWF-Spain
– Nature Trust (Malta)

Programme
10:00      Registration and welcome coffee
10:20      Welcome speech by Ms Elena Grech, Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta
10:30      Introduction by Mr Vincent Attard, CEO Nature Trust Malta
10:40      Results and recommendations by Dr Charles Galdies
11:10       Questions from the floor
11:25       Conclusion

Attendance by registration only: info@naturetrustmalta.org

Tue, Jan 5, 2016

Press Release 5 January 2016

At the start of 2016, Nature Trust (Malta) would like to call on the National authorities to make a resolution for 2016 and place the environment high on the national agenda. Malta and Gozo have suffered over the years due to bad planning decisions and lack of law enforcement in the environmental sector.
Government after government has made the Outside Development Zone a rubber band for its political manoeuvres purely for vote-catching purposes, rather than striving to implement sustainable development growth. Over the years very little has been invested in our countryside and natural environment. Today, our countryside environment is in a pitiful state with illegal dumping, illegal development, and no law enforcement.
Nature Trust (Malta) has long been calling for environmental police and rangers in our country side to deter illegal activities and enforce existing laws. Issues such as the Armier boathouses still linger from the past with no government having the courage to take action and solve them once and for all. All the political parties in Malta manage to do is blame one another for past and present mistakes, without doing anything to correct them. They seem to be only interested in emphasising past mistakes in order to justify new ones.
A few weeks ago a milestone international agreement was reached on climate change after years of idle talk and simply letting the problem grow bigger. Finally, many countries are realising that we are essentially destroying our planet under the pretext of economic growth.
NTM feels that Malta too has to think locally and move on towards environmental protection. Malta’s wish list should include implementing the following courses of action for this year:
• Have effective environmental law enforcement
• Stop ODZ development and focus on regeneration of the existing built-up areas. Set up and truly implement Marine Protected Areas
• Take action on illegal buildings spread all over the country
• Boost renewable energy and clean energy in the economy
• Implement afforestation projects which have been long overdue despite commissioning of studies and reports
• Address the traffic issue which is becoming a health hazard due to pollution in our towns and villages
• Allocate budgets for biodiversity protection
• Take immediate action on the ground water problem before it is too late
• Put environmental conservation on a horizontal level in all ministries and departments
• Promote truly green procurement
• Give the power it deserves to the new Environment Authority and not have just another toothless body which politicians can hide behind
• Put sustainable development and its true meaning as part of the country’s policy and make sure that development applications are done sustainably with carrying capacity studies (Eg today we have a large number of Petrol applications in ODZ when we already have a large number of existing ones)
The environment has in recent years been shoved down lower on the agenda. This can also be seen from the concerns of the Maltese in the latest Euro Barometer findings. Malta deserves better from our leaders than such a sorry state of affairs, when we clearly have the potential to be an example for all Europe in the sphere of Sustainable Development.