Il-petrol u d-diesil ser jorħos?

 

petrol

Nafu, għax il-medja tfakkarna l-ħin kollu, li l-prezz taż-żejt fis-swieq internazzjonali niżel sewwa. Għalfejn mela f’Malta għad ma raħsux il-prezz tal-petrol u d-diesel għall-konsumatur? Il-prezz għadu għoli meta tqabblu mal-prezzijiet fil-parti l-kbira tal-pajjiżi l-oħra tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

Għandu l-Gvern iraħħas il-prezz, jew għandu jħallih kif inhu?

Sa issa l-Gvern permezz tal-Korporazzjoni Enemalta mexa billi perjodikament aġġusta l-prezzijiet skond kemm il-petrol u id-diesel kienu ser jiġu jiswew lilu.

Il-prezz tal-petrol bla ċomb bħalissa hu ta’ €1.35 il-litru li minnhom €0.73 huma taxxi. Min-naħa l-oħra, l-prezz tad-diesel bħalissa hu ta’ €1.28 li minnhom €0.543 huma taxxi. It-taxxi fuq il-petrol u d-diesel ivarjaw minn pajjiż għall-ieħor, bħalma jvarjaw ukoll il-prezzijiet. Il-prezz tal-petrol bla ċomb f’xi pajjiżi jinbiegħ għola minn Malta. Hemm iżda diversi pajjiżi fl-Unjoni Ewropea fejn jinbiegħ orħos, fosthom is-segwenti : l-Polonja (€1.116-il litru), l-Estonia (€1.129), l-Awstrija (€1.142), il-Latvia (€1.146), il-Litwanja (€1.17), l-Ungerija (€1.173), il-Bulgarija (€1.176), il-Lussimburgo (€1.195), ir-Repubblika Ċeka (€1.221), ir-Rumanija (€1.222),  Spanja (€1.251), il-Kroatja (€1.275), Ċipru (€1.286) u s-Slovenja (€1.331).

Il-lista ta’ pajjiżi tal-UE fejn id-diesel jinbiegħ irħas minn Malta hi ferm itwal. L-irħas prezz huwa dak tal-Litwanja fejn jinbiegħ €0.93 il-litru. Min-naħa l-oħra fl-Italja jinbiegħ €1.458 u fir-Renju Unit jinbiegħ €1.509 il-litru.

Għandu jorħos il-prezz tal-petrol bla ċomb u tad-diesel f’Malta?

L-argumenti favur li jorħos il-prezz tal-petrol u d-diesel huma ta’ spejjes inqas għall-konsumatur.

L-argumenti kontra tnaqqis fil-prezz huma argumenti ta’ natura ambjentali. Għax prezz għoli ifisser attenzjoni iżjed fil-konsum filwaqt li prezz li jitbaxxa jinkoraġixxi l-laxkezza fil-konsum.

Dan l-argument biex il-prezz tal-petrol u d-diesel ma jorħosx ikun validu, anzi validu ħafna, meta jkollna transport pubbliku li jaħdem sewwa, u b’hekk ikun jista’ joffri servizz effiċjenti u alternattiv. Ilkoll nirrikonoxxu li hemm titjib fis-servizz imma dan għadu mhux biżżejjed biex iħajjar lin-nies jagħmlu iktar użu mit-trasport pubbliku flok ma jutilizzaw karozzi privati u b’hekk jonqsu l-karozzi fit-toroq tagħna.

Ilkoll nafu li l-kwalità tal-arja f’Malta l-iktar li hi effettwata hi mill-emissjonijiet tal-karozzi, kemm dawk li jużaw il-petrol kif ukoll dawk li jagħmlu użu mid-diesel. Jekk jonqsu dawn l-emmissjonjijiet ser ikollna titjib fil-kwalità tal-arja. Dan jista’ iseħħ billi jintużaw karozzi li jagħmlu użu minn teknoloġija differenti, bħall-karozzi li jaħdmu bl-elettriku jew bil-gass, inkella billi jintuża t-trasport pubbliku flok il-karozzi privati. Dan ovvjament apparti li nimxu fejn possibli inkella li tintuża r-rota.

L-għażla, eventwalment trid issir min-nies individwalment. Imma l-Gvern dejjem jista’ jimbotta ftit biex jinkoraġixxi lil dak li jkun biex jibdel l-imġieba tiegħu u b’hekk jagħti l-kontribut tiegħu għall-kwalità tal-arja aħjar.

Tnaqqis ta’ taxxi fuq il-karozzi li ma jniġġsux hi għajnuna li bosta gvernijiet jużaw għal dan l-iskop. Il-Gvern jista’ ukoll juża l-prezz tal-fuel, kemm dak tal-petrol bla ċomb kif ukoll dak tad-diesel bħala għodda biex iħajjar inqas nies jużaw dawn il-fuels. Hemm gvernijiet li meta għandhom trasport pubbliku li jaqdi sewwa lill-pubbliku jħallu l-prezz tal-petrol bla ċomb u tad-diesel għoli. Hekk għamel għal diversi snin il-Gvern Laburista Ingliż fil-passat billi żied t-taxxi fuq il-petrol u d-diesil.

F’dak il-każ ikun jaqbillek b’tal-linja. Ikun sinjal tajjeb meta aħna ukoll naslu sa dan il-punt, nittama f’data mhux il-bogħod. Peró naħseb li għad baqa’ ftit ieħor sa ma naslu. Imma ikun għaqli kieku l-Gvern anke f’dan l-istadju jħabbar meta jippjana li naslu f’dan l-istadju, għax ma jistax ikun li jibqgħu jiżdiedu n-numru ta’ karozzi fit-toroq.

B’dan il-mod, anke f’Malta kif jitjieb is-servizz ikun possibli li jkun inkoraġġit in-nuqqas ta’ konsum ta’ petrol u diesel, użu iktar frekwenti tat-trasport pubbliku u inqas karozzi fit-toroq u allura ngawdu arja iktar nadifa.

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Next Thursday’s earthquake

earthquake

 

This will be a simulation exercise coordinated by Malta’s Civil Protection Department at 4pm next Thursday in Gozo and three hundred people will be involved.

It will be carried out with EU assistance and in conjunction with the Civil Protection Authorities in Sicily who are partners with the Maltese Civil Protection Department (CPD) in establishing a network within the region that is able to manage seismological disasters.

This exercise signals the coming of age of Malta’s CPD. It has to date delivered sterling service in the areas of fire-fighting, managing pollution and providing assistance required as a result of flooding after heavy storms. Training its staff, and subjecting them to a gruelling simulation exercise, is a gigantic step forward for the CPD. It is the first step of a long journey that is dependent on the dedication of the CPD staff  – which is unlimited – as well as the resources allocated by the state. Such resources, although limited over the years, seem to be slowly trickling down, for a change.

Developing the CPD’s ability to handle disasters will be a major challenge. For a start it will identify its capability to develop effective coordination with the Police Force, with the AFM (Armed Forces) and the health authorities as well as with local councils.

At the end of the day the CPD’s proficiency in disaster management will be measured in terms of its response time as well as the number of lives it saves in such situations. This will generally depend on the severity of the disaster with which it is faced.

This will not only translate into a general level of preparedness. It will also require focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities and in this respect the role of local councils is indispensable. Specific protocols need to be developed and tested in conjunction with local councils regarding the assistance required by children and those who are bedridded or disabled. Catering for all disabilities is an indispensible prerequisite and it requires trained personnel to which the CPD currently has no access. It is an easily identifiable deficiency which needs to be addressed forthwith.

One small example would suffice: how would the CPD personnel, the police, the AFM – or the health authorities for that matter – communicate with persons with  impaired hearing in the absence of staff able to communicate in sign language? Addressing this deficiency is required not just to ensure that Malta is adequately prepared for disaster management. It is also an everyday deficiency that every authority in Malta that offers a direct service to the population at large needs to address. With around five hundred known Maltese with impaired hearing and a number of others who may have remained below the radar, this is an issue which is manageable primarily at a local level. Yet to date it has not been adequately prioritised.

In this context, one would also need to query the level of preparedness of institutions such as Mount Carmel Hospital and id-Dar tal-Providenza. I am informed that even when it comes to fire drills in residential homes for the elderly, the results were not impressive, to put it mildly.

Prompt and effective coordination between the different authorities is crucial in ensuring disaster management. There is a need to test how the different types of equipment used by the CPD, the Police and the AFM interact. Are they compatible? The planned simulation exercise is an opportunity to identify whether, in an actual practice run, matters will work out as planned. Lessons learned in this area will have to be translated into better procurement procedures in the future to ensure smooth interaction between the CPD, the police and the Army.

This will translate into compatible communication equipment as well as adequately maintained vehicles, sea craft and aeroplanes/helicopters which can be used in difficult circumstances. Knowing that maintenance of equipment has never been our forte, this could be quite a challenge!

The simulation exercise on Gozo on 3 September will necessarily lead to a number of lessons learnt which will have to be acted upon in order that Malta’s capability in disaster management is enhanced. This is definitely a bold step in the right direction.

I look forward to the next steps which require the involvement of local authorities.

Published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 30 August 2015