In-nifs li nieħdu

Meta, riċentment, kienu intervistati mill-medja lokali Uffiċjali tal-Awtoritá tal-Ambjent u r-Riżorsi (ERA), ikkonfermaw dak li ilna nafu għal żmien konsiderevoli: it-tniġġiż tal-arja f’Malta hu prinċipalament ikkawżat mill-mezzi tat-trasport. Triq Sant’Anna fil-Furjana hi l-iktar triq bl-arja mniġġsa f’Malta filwaqt li mhux ‘il-bogħod li l-kwalitá tal-arja tal-Imsida teċċedi dak permissibli mir-regolamenti tal-Unjoni Ewropea dwar il-kwalitá tal-arja.

Hu ovvju li l-ħtija ewlenija għal dan hi ġejja min-numru ta’ karozzi fit-toroq tagħna. Gvern wara l-ieħor dejjem qagħda lura milli jindirizza l-problema bis-serjetá. Dejjem iduru mal-lewża: jindirizzaw il-konsegwenzi mingħajr il-kuraġġ li jiffukaw fuq il-kawża.
Is-soluzzjoni qegħda billi jonqos in-numru tal-karozzi fit-toroq tagħna kif ukoll li simultanjament titjieb il-kwalitá tal-karozzi li jibqgħu.

Waqt il-kampanja elettorali tal-2017 f’Malta, Alternattiva Demokratika ipproponiet li fi żmien 20 sena l-karozzi kollha fit-toroq tagħna jkunu jaħdmu bl-elettriku. Din il-proposta tfisser li fuq perjodu ta’ mhux iktar minn għoxrin sena ma jkollniex iktar karozzi li jaħdmu bil-petrol jew bid-disil fit-toroq tagħna. B’hekk, bla dubju, it-tniġġiż tal-arja, jonqos drastikament.

Din il-proposta ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika kienet għoġbot lil Joseph Muscat li f’ Settembru 2017, f’waħda mill-prietki tiegħu ta’ nhar ta’ Ħadd kien tkellem favur tagħha. Imma ma smajna xejn iktar dwarha minn dakinnhar!

Billi l-vjaġġi li nagħmlu bil-karozzi tagħna fil-parti l-kbira tagħhom idumu inqas minn ħmistax-il minuta hu ħafna possibli li n-numru ta’ karozzi fit-toroq tagħna jonqos. Dan faċilment jinftiehem għax għal dawn id-distanzi qosra hawn diversi mezzi alternattivi li jassiguraw mobilitá effiċjenti.

Jonqos biss ħaġa waħda: ma hawnx rieda politika biex jittieħdu d-deċiżjonijiet meħtieġa.

Il-Furjana, minn barra li għandha t-triq bl-iktar arja mniġġsa f’Malta trid tiffaċċja ukoll l-emissjonijiet tal-vapuri tal-passiġġieri (cruise liners), li, skond id-direzzjoni tar-riħ, iktar iva milli le, jonfħu d-dħaħen tagħhom direttament għal ġoż-żona residenzjali tal-Furjana. Din hi problema li f’miżura inqas hi ffaċċjata ukoll minn Birżebbuġa bħala riżultat tal-moviment tal-vapuri fil-Port Ħieles.

Il-vapuri suppost li jaqilbu l-magni tagħhom fuq żjut u fjuwil li jniġġes inqas hekk kif jidħlu fil-port. Din hi materja li hi regolata minn diversi direttivi tal-Unjoni Ewropeja. Id-diffikultá, bħal dejjem, hi, li l-infurzar tal-liġijiet ftit li xejn ikun osservat.

Teoretikament teżisti soluzzjoni oħra biex ikun ikkontrollat u jonqos sostanzjalment it-tniġġiż mill-vapuri ġaladarba dawn jkunu siguri fil-port. Jista’ jkun possibli li jagħmlu użu minn sors elettriku li joriġina mill-art flok mill-ġeneraturi tal-elettriku fuq il-vapuri.

Lokalment diġa tħejjew żewġ studji preliminari dwar dan: wieħed jiffoka fuq il-Port il-Kbir u l-ieħor fuq it-Terminal tal-Port Ħieles f’Birżebbuġa. Dawn l-istudji saru kif ġie inkoraġġit li jsir mir-rakkomandazzjoni tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea dwar il-promozzjoni tal-użu ta’ elettriku mill-art mill-vapuri fil-portijiet tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

Rakkomandazzjoni li saret fl-2006.

Dawn l-istudji jaslu għal konklużjonijiet simili fis-sens li ma jistax iseħħ progress bħala riżultat ta’ azzjoni unilaterali f’portijiet individwali. L-azzjoni u d-deċiżjonijiet jeħtieġ li jittieħdu fuq livell tal-industrija tal-vapuri u trid tkun misjuqa internazzjonalment jew mill-Unjoni Ewropea.

Huwa magħruf li huma biss il-vapuri li jbaħħru lejn l-istat Amerikan ta’ Kalifornja li għandhom il-kapaċita teknika li jutilizzaw l-elettriku ġġenerat fuq l-art. Dan minħabba li l-Kalifornja għandha liġijiet li tobbliga li dan isir.

Ir-rakkomandazzjoni tal-2006 tal-Unjoni Ewropea ħejjiet it-triq biex saru numru ta’ studji dwar diversi portijiet tal-Unjoni dwar kemm jagħmel sens ekonomiku li fejn hemm portijiet viċin ħafna ta’ żoni residenzjali jitfu l-magni tagħhom u jagħmlu użu tal-elettriku mill-art. Nistgħu biss nittamaw li dawn l-istudji jittieħdu in konsiderazzjoni meta titfassal t-triq il-quddiem.

Ippubblikat fuq Illum : Il-Ħadd 22 ta’ Lulju 2018

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The air we breathe

Officers of the Environment and Resources Authority, interviewed by the local media, emphasised what we have known for ages: the main contributor to air pollution in Malta is transport. St Anne Street in Floriana is the most polluted street in Malta, while Msida will soon exceed the maximum permissible limits of EU regulations on air quality.

It is pretty obvious that the main culprit is the number of cars on our roads. Successive governments, however, have been reluctant to bell the cat. Instead they go around in circles, tackling the effects and continuously avoiding the causes.

The solution lies in reducing the number of cars on our roads and simultaneously improving the quality of the remaining numbers.

During the 2017 Electoral Campaign in Malta, Alternattiva Demokratika-The Green Party proposed the electrification of cars on Maltese roads within a maximum of 20 years. This proposal means that all petrol and diesel run cars would be taken off our roads within a maximum of 20 years. Inevitably, air pollution would decrease drastically.

Alternattiva Demokratika’s proposal was subsequently taken up by Joseph Muscat in September 2017 in one of his Sunday sermons. However, we have not heard anything more on the matter since.

Reducing the number of cars on our roads is achievable due to the fact that most of the trips made by cars are of less than 15 minutes duration. This is understandable, as most of the distances we travel are short.

Only one thing is missing: the political will to act.

Floriana, in addition to having the most polluted street on the island, must also cope with emissions from cruise liners, which, depending on the direction of the prevailing wind, more often than not blow their fumes directly across the Floriana residential area. To a lesser extent, this is an experience also shared by Birżebbuġa as a result of the ship movements at the Malta Freeport Terminal.

Ships should switch over to less polluting fuels when in port, a matter which is regulated by a number of European Union Directives. The difficulty with this is that enforcement is practically non-existent.

Theoretically, there is also another solution to control and substantially reduce pollution from ships, once these are berthed. It would be possible to switch over the electricity supply required by a ship from one dependent on the ship generators to a source of electrical power which is land-based. Two preliminary studies have been carried out locally, one focused on the Grand Harbour and the other focused on the Freeport Terminal at Birżebbuġa. These studies were carried out in terms of the EU Commission Recommendation on the promotion of shore-side electricity for use by ships at berth in Community ports, a recommendation that was adopted in 2006.

The above-mentioned studies have reached similar conclusions in that it is considered that progress cannot be achieved by unilateral action at individual ports. Action must be industry-wide and must be driven internationally or by the EU.

It is known that only sea vessels which call at ports in the American state of California are equipped to take onshore power supply, because California has legislated on the matter.

The EU recommendation of 2006 has paved the way for a number of studies across the EU on the economic feasibility of onshore power supply to ships berthed close to residential areas. We can only hope that these studies are taken into consideration when plotting the way forward.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 22 July 2018

Salvajna binja fl-Imsida mit-twaqqiegħ

 

L-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar għadha kif infurmatni li ż-żewġ applikazzjonijiet biex jtwaqqgħu żewġt idjar minn ringiela ta’ djar simili fi Triq it-Torri l-Imsida ġew irtirati.

Ġlieda li għamilt f’isem residenti tat-triq li ma ħamlux li jkompli dan l-istraġi.

Ilna għaddejjin minn Ottubru tal-2015 niġġieldu l-ewwel kontra applikazzjoni waħda u imbagħad kontra it-tieni waħda. Fl-aħħar ikkonvinċejna lill-Awtoritá tal-Ippjanar li l-binja kien jeħtieġilha protezzjoni.

L-aħħar pass kien illum li ġejt infurmat li l-applikazzjonijiet kienu qed jiġu rtirati.

Ħajr lil kull min ta sehmu biex għamilna dan il-pass żgħir il-quddiem. Prosit.

Planning for the foreseeable future

Human nature has always been preoccupied with the future. However, at times we tend not to realise that we mould a substantial part of the future through our actions today. Unfortunately, sometimes our actions today and the future we want, point towards completely different directions.

Our future is necessarily a common one, as explained in the 1987 report of the UN Commission on Environment and Development -, the Brundtland report – aptly entitled Our Common Future. Drafted by an international commission led by former Norwegian Socialist Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, this report placed sustainable development on the global discussion platform, emphasising that we are responsible not only for each other’s welfare today but also for that of future generations. We need to consider carefully that our actions today have a considerable impact and can possibly limit the choices that future generations would have to make.

The impact of our behaviour on the climate is one such example. The impact of climate change is causing havoc in weather patterns and consequently also impacting on all areas of human activity. The patterns and intensity of rainfall is unpredictable. Our road infrastructure never coped, and now it is getting worse.

Earlier this week The Guardian reported that the planet has just a five per cent chance of reaching the Paris climate goals. Rather than avoiding warming up by more than 2oC by the end of the century, it is more likely that Mother Earth will heat up to around 5oC beyond the pre-industrial era.

The predicted consequences are catastrophic. Another report published in April this year had informed us that there are worrying signs for Greenland ice sheet which covers 80 percent of its 1.7 million square kilometres surface area: it has been observed melting faster than ever before. On its own, this factor could potentially cause a rise of many meters in sea level – as many as seven metres.

This is certainly not the future we want. Any rise in sea level rise, even if minimal, would threaten the functionability of all coastal areas and facilities. It would also wipe out entire coastal communities and islands worldwide would disappear. It would be a future of climate- change refugees pushed to higher ground by a rising sea-level. This will not only have an impact low-lying islands in the Pacific Ocean: it will also hit closer to home.
Take a look at and consider the places along the Maltese coast: Msida, Ta’ Xbiex, Pietá, Sliema, Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk, San Pawl il-Baħar, Burmarrad, Birżebbuġa, Marsalforn, Xlendi and many more.
Readers will remember the occasional rise in sea-level at Msida. In one such instant – on 11 May last year – the change in sea level was of more than a metre as a resulting flooding the roads along the coast. This phenomenon is known as seiche (locally referred to as “Il-Milgħuba”) and reported in this newspaper under the heading “Phenomenon: sea-water level rises in Msida, traffic hampered.” It also occurs at St George’s Bay in Birżebbuġa – on a small scale but on a regular basis, causing quite a nuisance to car users.

Now this phenomenon only occurs temporarily, yet it still substantially affects traffic movements when it does. Imagine if the rise in sea level rise is of a permanent nature?

Large parts of our coast are intensively developed – with roads and residential properties, as well as substantial sections of the tourism infrastructure and facilities. In addition, there is also the infrastructure of our ports which we have developed as a maritime nation over the centuries. All this points to the need for adequate planning to implement urgent adaptation measures in order to reinforce Malta’s coastal infrastructure. If we wait too long it may be too late.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 6 August 2017

Il-perżut ma jaqtax l-għatx

Thinly sliced ham on a chopping board

Dawk li jsejħu lilhom infushom “patrijotti” ipprotestaw billi għażlu l-għodda tal-insult. Lill-Musulmani li kienu qed jitolbu fl-Imsida fil-pjazza quddiem il-Knisja ippruvaw jipprovokawhom billi qassmu l-ħobż bil-perżut.

Missirijietna dejjem ittrattaw lil min ġie fi gżiritna b’ospitalità. Dak hu valur ewlieni li għaddewlna, imma l-hekk imsejħa “patrijotti” dan ma tantx jogħġobhom. Ma jogħġbuhomx dawk b’kulur jew twemmin differenti. Id-differenza tbeżżagħhom.  Biża’ li hi mnissla mill-injoranza.

M’għandhomx idea li l-parti l-kbira tagħna l-Maltin aħna imnisslin mill-ġnus kollha, mhux biss dawk max-xtut tal-Mediterran. Bħala poplu aħna taħlita. Mhux biss. Kif skopra fir-riċerka tiegħu l-istoriku l-Professur Godfrey Wettinger, missierijietna mhux dejjem kienu insara. Kien hemm żmien meta l-Maltin kienu jħaddnu r-reliġjon Islamika. Ir-reliġjon nisranija, fil-fatt, m’għandhiex għeruq daqstant fil-fond f’pajjiżna minkejja dak kollu li għallmuna!

Jagħmlu tajjeb il-“patrijotti” kieku jifhmu li fost il-valuri tal-Maltin, insara u m’humiex, hemm is-solidarjetà u t-tolleranza. Valuri li sfortunatament dawn il-“patrijotti” m’għandhomx idea tagħhom.

Fil-maġġoranza tagħna aħna poplu demokratiku li nirrispettaw il-fehmiet tal-oħrajn.

Għaliex għandek ixxerred il-mibgħeda fil-konfront ta’ min qiegħed ifittex post fejn jitlob? Tafu li dawn qed jitolbu fil-beraħ għax ma ħallewhomx jibqgħu jitolbu fil-garaxxijiet fejn kienu qed jitolbu? Minn meta ‘l hawn it-talb fil-beraħ sar oġġezzjonabbli?

Din l-intolleranza li qed terfa’ rasha tmur kontra l-valuri kollha tal-poplu Malti. M’għandha x’taqsam xejn mal-patrijottismu iżda mar-razzismu. Il-poplu Malti mhux poplu razzist.

Ir-razziżmu jxerred il-mibgħeda. Il-mibegħda hi mibnija fuq l-injoranza.  Dan l-għatx għall-mibgħeda hu misqi mill-injoranza : hu għatx li l-ebda perzut mhu ser jaqtgħu.

Ir-rigal ta’ Bormla

University at Dock One

 

X’ser tieħu Bormla minn l-Università Amerikana?

Bla dubju r-restawr taż-żona madwar il-Baċir numru wieħed ser ikun l-ewwel akkwist. Probabbilment ukoll li bini mitluq f’Bormla jkun hemm inċentiv illi jkun irranġat u eventwalment jinkera lill-barranin li jiffrekwentaw il-fakultajiet tal-Università fil-Baċir numru wieħed . Kemm l-istudenti kif ukoll xi għalliema.

Fl-Imsida per eżempju hemm kwantità ta’ flats li jinkrew lill-istudenti Għawdxin. L-istess hu mistenni li jiġri f’Bormla.

L-istudenti li joqgħdu f’dawn il-flats ovvjament iridu jieklu. Ser jixtru prinċipalment mill-ħwienet f’Bormla. Xi ftit jiddevertu ukoll. Kemm f’Bormla kif ukoll f’inhawi oħra fil-viċin u l-bogħod.

Meta l-Università fil-Baċir tilħaq il-massimu ta’ studenti probabbilment li jkun fiha madwar 1,200 student (il-kumplament ikunu Iż-Żonqor). Bla dubju, 1,200 ruħ jagħtu kontribut kbir lill-ekonomija ta’ Bormla, fil-flats, restaurants, ħwienet u barijiet.

Imma jkun meħtieġ li jsibulhom l-ispażju. Għax iktar ma jkun hemm studenti li joqgħodu f’Bormla inqas joħolqu problema ta’ traffiku! Ovvjament mhux ser ikunu kirjiet baxxi. Probabbilment id-domanda li dawn l-istudenti jiġġeneraw biex jikru toqba fejn joqgħodu jkollha xi ftit effett fuq il-kirjiet eżistenti. Imma dak għadu ftit kmieni għalissa.

Kemm ilu li tħabbar il-proġett digà hemm min beda jfittex u jippjana kif jista’ jdawwar lira (jew ewro)!

Dan l-investiment jidher li hu idea tal-kuntrattur mill-Jordan Hani Hasan Naji Al Salah. Ser tkun Università bi ħlas.

Li jibqa’ hu li jkun magħruf minn fejn ġejjin l-istudenti. F’kummenti li Hani Hasan Naji Al Salah kien ta’ lis-Sunday Times nhar it-3 ta’ Mejju li għadda kien qalilna li dawn ġejjin mill-Lvant Nofsani, mill-Afrika ta’ Fuq kif ukoll mill-Ewropa.

Imma l-website tal-Università DePaul ta’ Chicago, li qed tassisti lil investitur mill-Ġordan biex jitfasslu l-korsijiet Universitarji ma issemix studenti Ewropej iżda tgħid li din l-Università ser tkun għal studenti mill-Afrika ta’ Fuq, mill-Ġolf, expats u oħrajn li jfittxu edukazzjoni stil Amerikan.

Issa naraw. Wara kollox dan hu rigal għal Bormla.