Grave concern on the Saltmarsh at Marsaxlokk – Il Ballut

Recent fires which seem to have been caused by vandals in the area known as Il-Ballut at Marsaxlokk have caused great concern to Nature Trust –FEE Malta. This site houses an important habitat – a Salt March environment and which today holds the status of a Natura 2000 site protected at EU level.
For the last 30 years Nature Trust –FEE Malta has been desperately trying to get the local authorities to act and conserve this site – by action and not just on paper.
Way back in the early 90s the endemic killifish (buzaq) was still found in the salt marsh. However despite various reports to the relevant environment authorities on uncontrolled pollution for nearby pig farms at that time , no action was ever taken and the killifish population in this area all died out.
In the late 80s the site witnessed the dumping of rubble waste from the constriction of the Delimara Power station. Later the dredging of the Marsaxlokk port for the construction of the Freeport continued to change the water currents in the bay so much so that today the area and coastline is being eroded away. Part of the embankment that existed together with parts of the site have been eaten up by coastal erosion. This has also exposed the sensitive part of the habitat to marine litter and debris.
Years of illegal dumping and vandalism followed to the desperation on the environmental NGO despite various calls to the Environment Authorities (then MEPA)
For years and with the support of the Local Council the NGO has been calling for action. NT-FEE Malta feels that with proper management the site can be conserved and turned into an eco tourism attraction for the area offering education and nature to visitors. Furthermore NT-FEE Malta was also proposing that the adjacent beach be upgraded and given the Beach of Quality status for the benefit of the residents of Marsaxlokk. The NGO hopes that once the site is fully conserved the reintroduction of the killifish could occur. NT-FEE is at the moment doing a breeding programme of the killifish with the Malta Aquaculture Centre in Marasaxlokk, and so far results have been positive .
The Salta Marsh is also an important habitat in the South of Malta that attracts various migratory birds. So far some 65 species of birds have been recorded visiting the site

Only recently NT-FEE Malta witnessed some actions being planned by the Environment Resource authority to help protected the site. The last fire incident however has shown that very urgent short term actions have to be taken before it is too late. Malta has already lost too much natural areas and it is time we truly protect what is left

ERDF.PA5.0121 – Tender 002 Tender for Services related to the Project Architect of ERDF Project ERDF.PA5.0121 – Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Tender for Services related to the Project Architect  of ERDF Project ERDF.PA5.0121 –

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center – Tender oo2

Click here for Tender 002 Documents

 

 

Tender Awarded Notification

Notification 

Climate Change

Nature Trust – FEE Malta is part of the Climate Action network Europe as part of its work in joining other NGO trying to raise awareness on the World’s most urgent issue – Climate Change

CAN – Europe

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 160 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 40 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.

 

For more information on the network Click here

ERDF.PA5.0121 – Tender 001 Recommendation for Award

Tender for Services related to the Project Management of ERDF Project ERDF.PA5.0121 –

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

 

Result of Tender Evaluation Document – Recommendation for Award – In-terms-of-Clause-270-and-Clause-271-Award Recommendation web-site-

ERDF PA 5.0121 – Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre – NTM tender

Updated page on ERDF project

Clarification Note

Within the parameters afforded by Section 1, Clause 2 of the Tender Document, the Contracting Authority has today, 6 February 2019, uploaded additional forms for use by bidders when making their submission. This is being done for simplification purposes.

ERDF PA 5.0121 – Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre – NTM tender

 

 

Click here

https://www.naturetrustmalta.org/eu-tender/

 

Submissions opened today 18 Feb 2019 at 10 am

 

Click Here   Scan0004

World Wetlands Day

BirdLife Malta and Nature Trust-FEE
Malta celebrate World Wetlands Day
Both eNGOs raising awareness of precious wetland habitats

in the Maltese Islands

Today BirdLife Malta and Nature Trust-FEE Malta have teamed up to commemorate
World Wetlands Day (WWD), an international awareness day which occurs annually
on this date and marks the date of the adoption of the Ramsar Convention on
Wetlands on February 2nd, 1971.
Established to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the
planet, WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and has grown remarkably
since then. The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores
of the Caspian Sea and the theme for 2019 is “Wetlands and Climate Change”.
Every natural habitat which is in regular contact with significant volumes of water
may be considered as a wetland.
Wetlands around the world provide important services to humans and the
environment whilst also providing a home to thousands of species of plants,
insects, birds, mammals, and fish. Globally, wetlands have provided home to very
rare species and also are particularly important for birds, especially during
migration. These habitats provide much needed food, water and shelter during the
arduous spring and autumn bird migration. Locally, these are home to the endemic
Maltese Killifish (Aphanius fascatius, Bużaqq in Maltese) which has a very
restricted range. Apart from these reserves, this fish used to be found also at the
Marsa port, although today it has been eradicated due to infrastructural works
which were carried out on site.
In Malta, wetland habitats are scarce however both Nature Trust-FEE Malta and
BirdLife Malta manage a number of these habitats including Il-Ballut ta’ Marsaxlokk
and Il-Magħluq ta’ Marsaskala which are managed by Nature Trust-FEE Malta; and
Salina, Simar and Għadira Nature Reserves managed by BirdLife Malta, thus
ensuring the ongoing protection and conservation of these important sites.
On this day both nature organisations state: “Malta has limited wetlands which
require protection. Both BirdLife Malta and Nature Trust-FEE Malta are working
hard to improve the conditions of these wetlands and therefore the benefits they
provide to humans and wildlife. However, threats such as insensitive development,

coastal erosion, littering, poaching, and climate change are ever-present and need
extra efforts to address.
Apart from their environmental importance these wetlands are particularly
important as they absorb rainwater, reduce flooding and provide other important
services for free, otherwise known as ecosystem services”.
Wetlands such as those managed by BirdLife Malta are open to the public to enjoy.
Simar and Għadira Nature Reserves are open throughout the winter months during
weekends whilst Salina is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Entry to all the
sites is free and there is no need to book to visit.
Il-Magħluq ta’ Marsaskala is also open 24 hours a day and the public is encouraged
to visit at any point to enjoy this unique open space. Il-Ballut ta’ Marsaxlokk is
open to the general public and the public is advised to stick to the existing
footpaths. Both sites have been handed over to Nature Trust-FEE Malta since
October and thus conservation works are just starting. Nature Trust-FEE Malta
encourages anyone who wants to help out with these sites to reach out via the
contact details on the website.

NT-FEE Malta responds to the proposal to dump construction waste at sea

Press Statement 1 February 2019

 

Following the recent media reports quoting the Malta Developer Association’s call to find a suitable area at sea for the dumping of construction waste, Nature Trust – FEE Malta is particularly disappointed that the sea may be the next to fall victim to environmental degradation, besides the fact that this quick-fix solution is dumping a special resource.

 

This problem has been brought up time and time again but government after government, this was not addressed and no long-term construction waste strategy was devised, allowing this problem to reach its critical stage today.  Developers are now irresponsibly taking the easy way out by recommending dumping at sea as a quick fix solution.  In 2004, when Malta joined the European Union, many hoped that our islands would have a long-term plan to address the waste issue.  Fourteen years later, not only did we not solve this issue but have had our authorities re open landfills again.

 

A large proportion of Malta’s immediate territorial waters was recently designated as Marine Protected Areas in the form of Special Protected Areas or Special Areas of Conservation (and consequently Natura 2000 sites) and our marine environment is also a major source of income for our islands, both in terms of fisheries but also in terms of trade and tourism.

 

https://lifebahar.org.mt/designated-mpas/

While acknowledging that construction and demolition waste is a major source of waste on our islands, the organisation feels that prevention is better than cure.  As highlighted by the 2008 European Union Waste Framework Directive, disposal is the worst possible option for the environment while reduction is the most advisable.

 

 

Waste Hierarchy (adapted from Directive 2008/98/EC)

 

Since the current construction frenzy does not appear to be slowing down, NT-FEE Malta believes that reducing the generation of stone at source may mitigate generation of construction waste in the first place.

 

Possible ideas to reduce waste may be to:

  • Practice deconstruction instead of demolition
  • Encourage plans and designs that generate less waste
  • Use standard sizes and quantities of materials in buildings to reduce off cuts and, should off cuts be generated, these may be stored and used in future buildings
  • Use waste stone to restore rubble walls around the Maltese Islands
  • Use waste stone to reconstitute building blocks
  • Pulverization of limestone in order to create limestone dust and used for other purposes

 

Finally, only recently was it announced that the local Globigerina Limestone was designated as a Global Heritage Stone Resource by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS)[1].  Yet, the it seems that the MDA deems it fit to dump one of the most important rock types into the sea.

[1] https://www.um.edu.mt/newspoint/news/features/2019/01/malteseglobigerinalimestoneassignedglobalrecognition