Waste Management politics

scrapyard

“We encourage waste separation in localities. However we recognise that this is not enough. As a country we still lag behind and have failed to reach targets on packaging waste as well as waste generated by electrical and electronic equipment.

It is essential to address the operation of scrapyards. These process waste which is subject to at least three Directives of the EU, namely the WEEE Directive, the End of Life Vehicles Directive and the Batteries Directive. The manner in which scrapyards have been permitted to operate signifies a total disregard of the principles and safeguards listed in the said Directives. The fact that after more than eight years of EU membership we are still discussing these issues signifies the low level of preparedness to shoulder environmental responsibilities resulting from EU adhesion.” (AD’s Electoral Manifesto, pages 89-90, March 2013)

The existence of operational scrapyards is an affront to Malta’s environmental obligations.

In scrapyards one finds discarded vehicles and other objects made primarily of metal  beyond their useful life. There are a number of operational scrapyards in various areas in Malta.  A major one was closed by MEPA some years back in Birżebbuġa. This is now in the process of reopening as an up to standard End of Life Vehicle facility based in Ħal-Far. The relative planning and environmental applications have been processed by MEPA and Malta Enterprise and the facility should be operational in the not too distant future.  There are other scrapyards (large and small) in various parts of the island. They are mostly an eyesore, generally a blot on the landscape as well as being the cause of negative environmental impacts.

Recycling scrap metal (and other materials) is an important economic activity which ensures that resources originally  extracted from the earth are kept in use and not discarded as waste. Recycling activity if properly managed is an important economic activity which is environmentally friendly. Employment created in this type of activity is an important source of green jobs.

Vehicles and equipment beyond its useful life cannot be disposed of haphazardly. Three specific EU Directives,  namely the End of Life Vehicle Directive (ELV), the Batteries Directive and the Waste from Electric and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) establish  the responsibilities of EU member states to regulate in detail these specific waste streams.  The objective is to recover metals and other materials which would otherwise go to waste. Their recovery should however be carried out in an environmental friendly manner.

Each and every part of a vehicle or a piece of equipment should be dismantled with particular care being given to the collection of fluids and gases. No such care is afforded in scrapyards.

Similarly it is to be pointed out that the electric and electronic waste directive (WEEE) is not being properly implemented in Malta. This is due to the fact that there is a conflict between the responsibilities spelt out in the Directive and the eco-contribution charged in Malta on electric, electronic and white goods.

The WEEE Directive spells out and applies the responsibility of producers for disposing of the electric and electornic waste generated by their products. It does so to encourage producers to put on the market products which are easily recoverable and which can be recycled without much difficulty and expense. The recovery from consumers of electric/electronic products and white goods beyond their useful life can be carried out an at expense which in terms of the WEEE Directive is to be added to the purchase price. But the situation in Malta is such that the cost of processing the waste generated by electric/electronic products and white goods is already quantified as an eco-contribution. This was fairplay when there was no WEEE Directve in operation. But now producers would have to pay twice for the same service. They pay an eco-contribution on placing the product on the market and then they must pay once more to honour their WEEE committments.

In view of the above the WEEE Directive has not yet been properly implemented in Malta.

It is about time that we get our house in order. The politics of waste is a very important matter which has not yet been given sufficient thought.  Except that is for the siting of waste management faciltiies, which seems to be the only waste issue which has interested the public in recent years.

The Issues Paper published recently by Minister Leo Brincat makes scant reference to the above. Maybe this is because it is a preliminary document preceeeding the actual Waste Management Plan for 2014-20.

A structured discussion on waste policy will certainly be of help. Having a multitiude of public consultation exercises by the different Ministries launched during the summer period is not  good practice. It is an old trick played by those who want to  nominally honour their obligations to consult.  Hopefully when the actual draft Waste Management  Plan 2014-20 is available for consultation we will have ample time to discuss.

published in The Times of Malta, Saturday August 31, 2013

Wara San Pawl il-Baħar u l-Munxar……………. qed iberraq f’Ħaż-Żabbar

Zabbar.l-itwal mejda

L-istorja tal-Kunsill Lokali ta’ San Pawl il-Baħar għadha friska.

Kunsillier tefa’ l-offerta għal Works Manager, meta dan ma jistax isir mhux biss għax mhiex imġieba korretta, imma ukoll għax il-liġi dan tobbliga li ma jsirx.

Il-Kunsillier involut refa’ ir-responsabbilta ta’ dak li ġara u irreżenja. Ma nafx kemm kellu jerfa’ ir-responsabbilta’ hu biss. Għax fil-waqt li veru li huwa mexa ħażin, naqas ukoll is-Sindku tal-Kunsill Lokali ta’ San Pawl il-Baħar li b’għoxrin sena esperjenza fil-Kunsilli ma nistax nifhem kif ma ndunax. Huwa responsabbli ukoll is-Segretarju Eżekuttiv li messu induna mill-ewwel, iżda ma ndunax. Meta rreżenja l-Kunsillier għaldaqstant ftit issolvew affarijiet. Għax min messu induna u żamm l-iżball milli jsir għadu ma refax ir-responsabbilta’ tiegħu.

Issa tfaċċa l-każ tal-Munxar. Fejn skoprew li l-kuntrattur li ħa l-offerta għadda din l-offerta (b’sub-contract) lil wieħed mill-kunsilliera tal-istess Kunsill! Flok mill-bieb dan għadda mit-tieqa.

Jidher li hemm iktar affarijiet għaddejja.

Qiegħed iberraq f’Ħaż-Żabbar. Għaddej xi ħaġa bejn is-Sindku w is-Segretarju Eżekuttiv tal-Kunsill Lokali ta’ Ħaż-Żabbar. Jidher li is-Segretarju Eżekuttiv bi snin ta’ esperjenza qiegħed attent li l-ħidma tal-Kunsill Lokali ta’ Ħaż-Żabbar timxi sewwa, mar-regoli. Imma f’waħda minn l-aħħar laqgħat tal-Kunsill Lokali kien hemm ilment mis-Sindku li d-deċiżjonijiet qed idumu wisq ma jitwettqu. Is-Segretarju Eżekuttiv qiegħed fil-mira tal-attakki fid-deher u fl-imwarrab. Qaluli li qed jinġabru xi firem ukoll kontra dan is-Segretarju Eżekuttiv .

Hawn min rasu qed tikbirlu malajr. Il-ħidma tal-Kunsilli Lokali ma tistax issir jekk ma timxi bl-ordni u f’rispett sħiħ tar-regoli. B’mod partikolari ir-regoli ta’ kif isir l-infieq.

Is-Segretarju Parlamentari għall-Kunsilli Lokali u l-Kultura, José Herrera, jidher li ser ikollu x’jagħmel mhux ħażin.

Min għandu jifhem ħa jifhem.

José Herrera jiġbidlu l-ispaga

Jose Herrera

Naqbel mad-deċiżjoni li ħa s-Segretarju Parlamentari José Herrera meta ordna lid-Direttur tal-Kunsilli Lokali biex dan jagħti struzzjonijiet lill-Kunsill Lokali ta’ San Pawl il-Baħar li hu meħtieġ li dan jirrevoka d-deċiżjoni tiegħu li jaħtar Kunsillier minn fostu bħala Works Manager tal-lokalita’ ta’ San Pawl il-Baħar.

Is-Segretarju Parlamentari aġixxa korrettement biex jassigura tmexxija ghaqlija, trasparenti u kontabbli. Tmexxija li tosserva dak li tistabilixxi l-liġi tal-Kunsilli Lokali.

Is-Segretarju Parlamentari José Herrera kien l-aħħar linja ta’ difiża li kellha il-komunita’ ta’ San Pawl il-Baħar għax is-saffi l-oħra ta’ difiza jirriżultaw li fallew u ma ħadmux.

Fallew milli jaqdu dmirhom il-kunsilliera infushom li issa qed jirriżulta li ħadd minnhom ma kellu konoxxenza tal-obbligi tagħhom. Ħadd minnhom ma oġġezzjona. L-Kunsilliera Laburisti kollha ivvutaw favur. Dawk tal-PN astjenew. Ħadd minnhom ma semma leħnu u ġibed l-attenzjoni  li kienet qed isseħħ irregolaritá bil-ħatra ta’ kunsillier bħala works manager.

L-anqas ma mexa sewwa il-proċess tal-aġġudikazzjoni tal-offerti . F’dan l-istadju l-offerta tal-Kunsillier kellha tkun meqjusa bhala inammissibli. Dan ifisser li min ħa sehem f’dan il-proċess ma jifhimx.

L-anqas ma qeda dmiru s-Segretarju Ezekuttiv tal-Kunsill Lokali li wera b’dan il-każ li ma kellux għarfien adegwat tar-regoli tal-Kunsilli Lokali. Jekk ma jafx dawn l-affarijiet x’qiegħed jagħmel bħala Segretarju Eżekuttiv tal-Kunsill Lokali ta’ San Pawl il-Baħar?

Falla ukoll id-Direttur tal-Kunsilli Lokali li kellu l-obbligu li jintervjeni fil-każ mill-ewwel minghajr ma jkun hemm il-ħtieġa li s-Segretarju Parlamentari  jagħmilha ta’ suġġeritur.

Fortunatament il-Kunsilli  Lokali li jaġixxu b’dan il-mod huma ftit fil-għadd.

Minn dan il-każ ta’ San Pawl il-Baħar nistgħu naslu għal numru ta’ konklużjonijiet.  Hemm bżonn urġenti li kemm il-Kunsilliera kif ukoll is-Segretarji Eżekuttivi jkunu mħarrġa aħjar biex jagħrfu jaqdu sewwa r-responsabbiltajiet tagħhom. Huwa meħtieġ ukoll li  l-proċess tal-aġġudikazzjoni tal-offerti jkun afdat f’idejn persuni kompetenti  kif ukoll li jkun hemm iktar nies imħarrġa fil-lokalitajiet biex jaqdu din il-funzjoni. B’hekk il-Kunsilli Lokali jkunu assigurati li jkollhom pariri mingħand persuni  li jifhmu.

Fl-aħħarnett huwa  meħtieġ  li d-Direttur tal-Kunsilli Lokali jkun iktar proattiv u jkun lest li jiċċaqlaq mingħajr il-ħtieġa li jiġbidlu l-ispaga José Herrera .

Grazzi Sur Awditur Ġenerali

Awditur.AMifsud

Min segwa dak li ġara s’issa fil-Kumitat għall-Kontijiet Pubbliċi seta jara kif l-Opposizzjoni Nazzjonalista għal darba oħra fetħet il-kanuni fuq l-Uffiċċju tal-Awditur Ġenerali bit-tama li iċċaqlaq l-attenzjoni minn fuq l-imġieba tal-ex Ministru Austin Gatt.

Naħseb li l-iktar diskors importanti li intqal mill-Awditur Ġenerali Anthony Mifsud u d-Deputat Awditur Ġenerali Charles Deguara kien meta fissru d-differenza bejn li tifformola l-politika tal-Gvern u li tieħu ħsieb li din tkun implimentata.

Meta l-Gvern permezz tal-Ministri tiegħu mhux biss jifformolaw il-politika (policy) iżda jfittxu li jindaħlu fid-dettall ikunu qed jindaħlu fejn m’għandhomx.  Ma jagħmilx sens li taħtar tim ta’ esperti u mbagħad tindaħlilhom. Jew huma esperti jew m’humiex.

Il-konklużjoni ta’ dan kollu hi li spiċċa ż-żmien tal-Ministri “hands on”. Il-Ministru mhux il-Manager. Qiegħed hemm biex jifformola l-politika li għandha tkun segwita. Imbagħad m’għandux jindaħal.

Kif qal  l-Awditur Ġenerali meta Ministru jindaħal fl-implementazzjoni tal-policy din hi prattika ħażina (bad governance) anke jekk il-liġi dan tippermettieh.

Grazzi Sur Awditur Ġenerali.

€9 biljuni mitluqa?

building industry Malta

In-numru ta’ propjetajiet reżidenzjali  vojta qiegħed dejjem jiżdied.

Iċ-ċensiment tal-1995 kien wera li   f’Malta u Għawdex kien hawn 35,723 propjetá reżidenzjali vojta. Għaxar snin wara,  fl-2005 dan in-numru żdied sewwa u laħaq 53,136. L-uffiċċju nazzjonali tal-istatistika diġa’ indika li fiċ-ċensment ta’ Novembru 2011 dan in-numru kompla jiżdied u laħaq it-72,150 post reżidenzjali vojt.

Din il-propjeta’ vojta għandha valur ta’ biljuni ta’ euros. Snin ilu kienet stmata b’valur ta’ €5 biljuni. B’żieda sostanzjali ta’ propjeta’ vojta l-valur issa hu iktar qrib id-€9 biljuni. Dan hu kapital mejjet.  Investiment li sar jew li intiret u ġie mitluq.

Uħud jirraġunaw li x’jiġri (jew ma jiġrix) minn propjetá vojta m’hu affari ta’ ħadd ħlief tas-sidien tal-istess propjetá. Dan ir-raġunament  hu wieħed żbaljat għax il-fatt li propjetá ma tkunx qed tintuża u titħalla vojta għandu impatt fuq il-komunita kollha.

Waqt li hawn 72,150 propjetá reżidenzjali vojta għandna mat-3,000 familja jfittxu saqaf diċenti għal fuq rashom!

Meta propjetá titħalla vojta din toħloq pressjoni biex tinbena iktar art għall-ħtiġijiet li jinqalgħu minn żmien għal żmien. Dan meta dawn il-ħtiġijiet jistgħu faċilment ikunu sodisfatti b’uħud mill-propjetajiet vojta.  L-art li għandna hi limitata u ma nistgħux nibqgħu nibnu iktar art.  Il-pressjoni biex tinbena iżjed art iġġib magħha l-ħtieġa ta’ iktar toroq kif ukoll il-bżonn li jkunu estiżi s-servizzi: is-sistema tad-drenagg, is-servizz tad-distribuzzjoni tal-ilma u tal-elettriku kif ukoll id-dwal fit-toroq.  Dawn is-servizzi huma diġa ipprovduti għall-propjetajiet vojta.  L-ispiża saret imma għal xejn, għax il-propjetá vojta! L-ispiża trid terġa’ issir għall-propjetá li qed tkompli tinbena biex b’hekk inkomplu nżidu ċ-ċimiterju ta’ propjetajiet vojta.

It-72,150 post reżidenzjali vojt f’Novembru 2011 jokkupaw spazju 9 darbiet daqs B’Kara!

Iffaċċjat b’din is-sitwazzjoni l-Gvern immexxi mill-Partit Nazzjonalista mexxa l-quddiem politika irresponsabbli għax meta fl-2006 ikkonkluda l-pjani lokali flok fittex li jikkkontrolla l-firxa esaġerata tal-bini ġieb il-quddiem politika li tinkoraġixxi iktar bini li m’għandniex bżonnu. Fl-2006 l-Gvern immexxi minn Lawrence Gonzi kellu quddiemu r-riżultat taċ-ċensiment tal-2005 li kien juri żieda sostanzjali fin-numru ta’ propjetá reżidenzjali vojta (minn 35,723 fl-1995 għal 53,136 fl-2005). Flok ma applika l-brejkijiet: żied b’mod sostanzjali l-art li tista’ tinbena, żied in-numru ta’ sulari li jistgħu jinbnew f’ħafna lokalitajiet u għamilha iktar faċli li jinbnew il-penthouses!

Is-sitwazzjoni illum bħala riżultat tal-politika żbaljata tal-Gvern immexxi minn Lawrence Gonzi hi ħafna agħar! Iċ-ċifra ta’ 72,150 post residenzjali vojt f’Novembru 2011 hi allarmanti u tfisser li l-pajjiż m’għandux bżonn ta’ żieda fil- bini reżidenzjali għal snin kbar.

Presentement għaddejjin proċeduri biex ikunu reveduti l-Pjani Lokali. Ikun ġenn jekk dan il-fatt ma jingħatax piż sostanzjali huma u jitħejjew il-Pjani Lokali ġodda.  Ir-reviżjoni tal-Pjani Lokali għandha titlaq minn dan il-punt.

Iż-żmien jagħtina parir jekk il-Gvern immexxi minn Joseph Muscat hux ser ikun irresponsabbli daqs dak immexxi minn Lawrence Gonzi jew jekk hux ser jibda jsewwi l-problemi.  Id-dikjarazzjonijiet li saru s’issa li l-industrija tal-bini hi meqjusa mill-Partit Laburista bħala pilastru importanti għall-ekonomija tal-pajjiż m’huwiex ta’ awgurju tajjeb.

Flok nibnu iktar ikun aħjar li nagħmlu użu aħjar minn dak li hu diġa mibni. Hawn propjeta’ reżidenzjali  mibnija iżda mhiex użata li tista’ isservi l-ħtiġijiet tal-pajjiż  għal snin twal.

ippubblikat oriġinalment fuq iNews nhar it-Tlieta 27 t’Awwissu 2013

Logħba ċess bil-Pulizija

police.chess

X’inhu għaddej fil-Korp tal-Pulizija?

Il-pulizija tad-Dipartiment tal-Investigazzjonijiet Kriminali jarrestaw u jakkużaw persuna bi żball. Il-persuna arrestata bi żball tinħeles wara li l-Pulizija tad-Distrett tidentifika lill-kriminali vera u tipproċedi kontrihom fil-Qorti.

Tinfetaħ inkjesta biex jiġi stabilit x’wassal għall-iżball.

Sa hawn, mad-daqqa t’għajn, dawn huma affarijiet li jistgħu jiġru lil kulħadd. Għalkemm huwa dejjem tajjeb li jsir magħruf kif u għaliex kien possibli li jsir żball ta’ din ix-xorta.

Imma issa qed tiżviluppa l-istorja bejn Silvio Scerri Chief of Staff tal-Ministru Mallia u Jason Azzopardi Shadow Minister tal-Intern dwar il-laqgħa li Daryl Luke Borg, il-vittma li ġie arrestat għal xejn mill-Pulizija kellu ma Silvio Scerri.

Hu ċar li Daryl Luke Borg ma marx minn jeddu jitkellem ma Scerri. Silvio Scerri jgħid li ma bagħtx għalih iżda la ħabbatlu l-bieb kellu l-obbligu li jisimgħu. Issa sirna nafu li kien Charles Attard iż-Żambi li issuġġerixxa lil Daryl Luke Borg li jkun aħjar jekk jitkellem ma xi ħadd fil-Ministeru tal-Intern.

Interessanti jekk iż-Żambi aġixxiex minn jeddu jew jekk kienx qed iwassal messaġġ u f’każ li kien qed iwassal messaġġ min qabbdu.

L-istorja diġa hi ikkumplikata. Biex iżżid ma dan waħda mill-gazzetti ppubblikati illum għandha storja dwar Spettur tal-Pulizija. Kumbinazzjoni hu l-istess Spettur tal-Pulizija li skopra l-iżball. Jiġifieri l-istorja fil-gazzetta tal-lum tiftaħ il-kanuni fuq dan l-ispettur tal-pulizja qiesu hemm xi ħadd li jrid jagħmel il-kontijiet miegħu. Ngħid dan għax l-informazzjoni ppubbikat u li hi deskritta bħala kunfidenzjali mhux normali li toħroġ mill-files tal-Korp tal-Pulizija jekk mhux bil-volonta’ ta’ xi ħadd imlaħħaq.

Tidher ċar li din hi logħba ċess. Mossi studjati ta’ min qed jieħu posizzjoni mingħajr ma juri idu.

Jidher li l-Imħallef Franco Depasquale ser ikollu x’jagħmel mhux ħażin biex isib tarf ta’ din il-kobba.

Għalfejn l-Aħdar?

greening

Naħseb li hi l-intenzjoni ta’ kważi kull min jinvolvi ruħu fil-politika li jara soċjetá li taħdem aħjar. Iżda x’inhu l-aħjar? Għax fil-waqt li lkoll naqblu li nimxu lejn l-aħjar mhux dejjem naqblu la ma x’inhu l-aħjar u l-anqas mat-triq li tista’ twassalna hemm.

Il-ħidma politika ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika hi assoċjata’ mal-għarfien tal-politika ambjentali bħala ċ-ċentru tal-ħidma tagħha. Filwaqt li dan hu minnu, mhux l-istampa kollha, għaliex il-ħidma favur id-drittijiet ċivili kif ukoll dik favur politika soċjali iktar umana dejjem kienu aspetti importanti tal-politika Ħadra.

Id-Dikjarazzjoni  l- Ħadra ta’ Canberra approvat fl-2001 f’laqgħa tal-Pariti Ħodor fuq livell globali tfisser fi ftit kliem it-triq il-Ħadra madwar id-dinja. Dikjarazzjoni li imbagħad hi applikata minn kull partit fit-tifsila  l-iktar addattata għal pajjiżu.

Sitta huma l-punti bażi tal-ħidma ħadra madwar id-dinja: l-għarfien ekoloġiku, l-ġustizzja soċjali, d-demokrazija partieċipattiva, in-non vjolenza, s-sostenibilita’ u r-rispett tad-diversita’. Huma marbutin flimkien, ħaġa waħda: programm wieħed u sħiħ. Madwar dawn titfassal u tinbena ħidma adatta għar-realtajiet ta’ kull pajjiż. Fuq dawn il-punti hemm konvergenza ma partiti politiċi oħra. Fuq uħud mill-punti naqblu iktar ma xi partiti filwaqt li fuq oħrajn naqblu iktar ma oħrajn.

Il-kuntrast tal-aħdar politiku mal-partiti l-oħra jimmanifesta ruħu l-iktar fil-politka ambjentali imma diversi drabi jidher ukoll f’oqsma oħra bħall-ġustizzja soċjali jew id-drittijiet ċivili. Jimmanifesta ruħu kemm fid-diskrepanza bejn dak li jingħad u dak li jsir inkella fir-ritmu li bih jitwettaq dak li dwaru jkun hemm konvergenza ta’ ħsieb.

Il-politika ħadra tmexxi l-quddiem politika progressiva li tesiġi mill-bniedem li jerfa’ r-responsabbilta’ ta’ egħmilu. Responsabbilta’ fil-konfront ta’ bnedmin oħra kif ukoll responsabbilta’ fil-konfront tal-ekoloġija. Ġustizzja soċjali u ġustizzja ambjentali li jirfdu lil xulxin. Dipendenti minn xulxin għax waħda mhiex sħiħa mingħajr l-oħra.

Din hi l-politka. Li dak li nippropnu kif ukoll dak li nfittxu li nwettqu nagħmluh dejjem bl-aħjar mod possibli. Il-politika mhix bilanċ ta’ interessi iżda sforz kontinwu biex nimxu sewwa dejjem.

It-triq li twassalna għal ħidma sewwa hi diffiċli mhux ftit għax kontinwament trid titħabat ma’ interessi egostiċi li jfittxu li jipperpetwaw l-istatus quo. Dawk jiġifieri li huma kontra kull bidla għax bidla għalihom tfisser li huma ma jibqgħux jiddominaw.

Ma rridx ninftiehem li kull bidla hi neċessarjament tajba. Kif ikolli l-opportunita’ infisser matul il-ġimgħat li ġejjin hemm ħafna li jeħtieġ li jinbidel. Imma daqskemm huwa importanti li jinbidlu bosta ħwejjeġ, daqstant ieħor hu importanti l-mod kif issir il-bidla. Mhux biex ma jintrifsux kallijiet iżda biex waqt li jkunu eliminati inġustzzji jew żbalji li saru tul is-snin ikun assigurat li dawn ma jkunux sostitwiti b’inġustizzji jew żbalji ġodda.

Hemm bżonn li l-inġustizzji u l-iżbalji innaqqsuhom, mhux  nibdlulhom isimhom.

Fix-xena politika Maltija għal ħafna snin indrat id-diska li jew ikħal inkella aħmar. L-aħdar fl-arena politika demokratika jfisser li hemm alternattiva demokratika għall-alternanza bejn l-ilwien  tradizzjonali.  Alternattiva poliitka li teżisti fil-parlamenti kollha Ewropeji inkluż dawk tal-iċken żewġ pajjiżi, San Marino u Andorra.

Nittama li dawn il-ħsibijiet tiegħi jservu għal diskussjoni ċivili li permezz tagħha lkoll nagħrfu aħjar l-alternattivi li għandu quddiemu pajjiżna.

kif ippubblikat fuq iNews, il-Erbgħa 21 t’Awwissu 2013.

Il-bojkot ta’ Ċensu Farrugia

Censu Farrugia 01

Ċensu Farrugia tal-GRTU jrid bojkot. M’huwiex ser jattendi laqgħat tal-MCESD meta dawn jiddiskutu l-prekarjat.

Il-Gvern, ġustament irid jiġġieled il-prekarjat li f’Malta hu b’saħħtu prinċipalment minn fuq il-kuntratti tal-Gvern u tal-korpi parastatali. Għax il-kuntratti tal-Gvern jintrebħu (ġeneralment) minn min joffri l-orħos prezz. U l-iktar mod prattiku kif uħud iqisu li jistgħu jaslu għal offerta li tkun l-orħos huwa billi jagħsru liż-żgħir.

Ġustament il-Gvern għandu fil-mira tiegħu dawn il-kuntratti.  Sa hawnhekk tajjeb.

L-ewwel idea tal-Gvern kienet li ma jippermetiix iktar li jkun hemm sub-contracting. Ċjoe li min jirbaħ kuntratt ma jitħallix jgħaddi l-kuntratt (jew kif isir ġeneralment parti minnu) lil ħaddieħor. Kien hemm opposizzjoni għal din l-idea. Din issa inbidlet u minflok hawn l-idea li min jitfa l-offerta jrid jgħid minn qabel min ser ikunu is-subcontractors u l-kundizzjonijiet oħra dwarhom li japplikaw.

L-idea tal-Gvern hi tajba imma m’hiex prattika.

Fl-opinjoni tiegħi biex il-Gvern jiġġieled bis-saħħa lill-prekarjat ma hemm bżonn jibdel (kważi) xejn ħlief il-livell tas-sorveljanza tal-kuntratti.

Il-kundizzjonijiet ġenerali tal-kuntratti tal-Gvern diġa joħolqu qafas ta’ regolamentazzjoni dwar is-sub- contracts. Min jirbaħ kuntratt ta’ xogħol jew servizz għall-Gvern diġa għandu l-obbligu li ma jistax jaqbad u jiddeċiedi hu li jagħti sub-contract. Dan jista’ jagħmlu biss wara li kiseb l-approvazzjoni tal-Gvern.

Għaldaqstant kullma jeħtieġ li jsir mill-Gvern hu li jistabilixxi regoli ċari tal-kriterji li fuqhom jagħti l-permess biex ġaladarba kuntratt ikun intrebaħ ikun jista’ jkun hemm sub-contractors. Punt ewlieni ta’ dawn il-kritierji għandu jkun li ma jingħatax lok għal prekarjat u li kundizzjonijiet minimi ta’ xogħol ikunu rispettati.

Biex  infasslu flimkien l-aħjar triq kif nistgħu naslu ħalli negħlbu l-prekarjat huwa neċessarju li jkun hemm kulħadd madwar il-mejda.  Għalhekk il-bojkott ta’ Ċensu Farrugia m’hu ser isolvi xejn.

Dan parir bla ħlas.

Local plans, and not regional

grand-harbouraerial

MEPA has embarked on a process which will lead to a revision of the seven existing  Local Plans. Five were approved in 2006. Two of them were approved earlier: the Marsaxlokk Bay Local Plan (1995) and the Grand Harbour Local Plan (2002).

With the exception of the Marsaxlokk Bay Local Plan (which regulates  Birżebbuġa, Marsaxlokk and their surrounding areas) all the Local Plans cover extensive areas. The Structure Plan, approved in 1990 and currently subject to revision, had identified the need for 24 Local Plans addressing urban areas, as well as other unspecified plans for Rural Conservation Areas. Initially when MEPA approved the Marsaxlokk Bay Local Plan it started along this path but then it opted for plans which are more regional than local in nature.

Local Plans are necessary in order that planning policy is appropriately applied at a local level where one can focus on practical considerations. Though there may be overlaps between Local Plans covering similar areas there will also be variations resulting from the specific nature of the different localities. There will be inevitable similarities between, for example, a Local Plan addressing Valletta and Floriana on one hand and another one addressing the Three Cities due to the fact that both contain vast stretches of fortifications.  However the planning issues arising may also lead to different considerations both in respect of what is to be prohibited as well as in what ought to be encouraged.

Local Plans are not neutral policy instruments. Departing from the common need to ensure a continuous maintenance programme for the fortifications (which programme is currently in hand)  Local Plans may explore different potential uses to which the fortifications in two completely different areas may be put. This would be dependent on the infrastructural services in the area  and on the impacts generated by the potential use  on the surrounding amenities and localities. It would be much easier to ensure that this is done through two separate local plans, one specifically addressing Valletta and Floriana and the other addressing just the Three Cities.

It is not just an issue of fortifications. The large number of vacant properties, currently totalling  over 72,000 cannot be addressed adequately at a regional level. Different policies and different targets have to be identified at a local level as both the causes as well as the extent of the problem vary from one locality to another.

Boundaries of a number of Urban Conservation Areas (UCAs) were substantially revised in 2006 on the understanding that it is better to limit the extent of a UCA to that which is necessary and essential. Consequently it should stand to reason that a smaller UCA is much better to regulate and monitor.

A number of vacant properties lie within UCAs as it costs much more to bring such properties to an adequate state compatible to modern standards of living. This is an area which has already been explored in the last years with various fiscal incentives being offered to encourage rehabilitaton and the reuse of such properties. Much more needs to be done. The revision of the Local Plans is another opportunity to re-examine the way forward in tackling the ever increasing number of vacant properties. The proposed policies must however be focused and local in nature as otherwise they will fail to have any impact at all.

As emphasised by eNGOs  the Local Plans should also be an opportunity to consider the integration of environmental policy and its applicability at a local level. Whilst all environmental policy is of relevance to our localities two particular areas easily spring to mind: air quality and noise pollution.

Both air quality and noise control standards can be undoubtedly upgraded if action is taken at a local level. Traffic generated is a major contributor to both. Heavy traffic through residential areas has to be reduced. If the Local Plans address this issue they will be simultaneously contributing to a better air quality and less acoustic pollution in urban areas.

From declarations made in the past weeks it is obvious that one of the controversial issues to be tackled, (most probably in a plan addressing rural areas) would be agro-tourism.  This is a very sensitive matter . If the point of departure is to seek to establish new development zones on the pretext of tourism than such proposals would be unacceptable. If on the other hand such a Rural Plan addresses the use of existing  agricultural holdings aiming to maximise the use of their existing footprint, provide a different touristic experience as well as  provide alternative or additional employment opportunities to our agricultural communities then there is room for considerable discussion.

The Local Plans to be produced will have an impact on our quality of life for the next ten years. It is hence imperative to not only ensure a high level of participation in the consultation process but that the resulting proposals are given due consideration.

This article was published in The Times of Malta, Saturday August 10, 2013

Sqaq Żbibu : il-MEPA tħokk rasha

Illum quddiem il-Bord tal-MEPA sar smiegħ dwar applikazzjoni ta’ żvilupp biex medda ta’ art ta’ madwar 3000 metru kwadru fi Sqaq Żbibu San Ġwann tkun żviluppata. L-applikazzjoni PA 1104/04 titlob żvilupp ta’ 53 appartament (11 b’kamra tas-sodda waħda, 13 b’żewġt ikmamar tas-sodda u 29 bi tlett ikmamar tas-sodda) u 7 penthouses (waħda b’kamra tas-sodda waħda, 5 b’żewġt ikmamar tas-sodda u waħda bi tlett ikmamar tas-sodda flimkien ma numru ta’ garaxxijiet f’żewġ livelli taħt l-art.

40 familja appoġġati minn Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar u Alternattiva Demokratika opponew dan l-iżvilupp u ippreżentaw sottomissjonijiet quddiem il-Bord tal-MEPA għal iktar minn sagħtejn.

Il-Bord tal-MEPA wara li sema’ kollox iddeċieda li dak li qalu r-residenti, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar u Alternattiva Demokratika kellu jkun eżaminat iktar fil-fond. Fil-fatt il-Bord tal-MEPA ippospona konsiderazzjoni tal-applikazzjoni għal nhar il-5 ta’ Settembru li ġej biex ikunu eżaminati 4 punti fundamentali u ċjoe : l-arkijoloġija tal-post, shelter li hemm fil-post li s’issa ma ġiex eżaminat, titjib fid-diżinji tal-faċċata u dettalji ta’ kif ser isir titjib tal-immaniġjar tat-traffiku.

Nistennew  u naraw !