L-iskandlu tal-Volkswagen fit-toroq Maltin

BBC.VW cheating

 

In-numru ta’ karozzi fit-toroq tagħna hu wieħed kbir, anzi hu kbir ħafna. It-toroq ma jesgħux daqstant karozzi tant li f’xi ħinijiet dawn ikunu ġġammjati bħalma rajna dal-għodu, issa li reġgħu bdew l-iskejjel. Skond iċ-ċifri uffiċjali, sa l-aħħar ta’ Ġunju fit-toroq tagħna kellna 340,981 karozza, inkluż dawk ta’ użu kummerċjali. Jiġifieri 802 karozza għal kull 1000 ruħ li hawn f’Malta u Għawdex.

Hemm ħtieġa li jonqsu l-karozzi fit-toroq. Dan jista’ jseħħ biss kemm-il darba t-trasport pubbliku jagħmel il-qabża tant meħtieġa fil-kwalità, biex ikun użat iktar u b’hekk joffri alternattiva kredibbli u prattika għall-użu tal-karozzi privati.

Sadanittant bosta jibqgħu jagħmlu użu minn karozzi privati, b’numru li qiegħed dejjem jiżdied u li qed ikompli jħassar il-kwalità tal-arja ta’ pajjiżna. Il-posizzjoni dejjem qed tmur għall-agħar meta uħud minn dawk li jimmanifatturaw il-karozzi, minn fuq, jabbużaw mill-posizzjoni tagħhom.

Fi tmiem il-ġimgħa li għaddiet tħabbar li l-Iżviżżera waqqfet temporanjament il-bejgħ tal-mudelli tal-karozzi li jaħdmu bid-diesel li tipproduċi l-Volkswagen u li sal-lum hu magħruf li huma effettwati mill-iskandlu tal-emmissjonijiet moħbija. L-iskandlu tal-Volkswagen.

Il-karozzi effettwati, mudelli li jaħdmu bid-diesel li ġew immanifatturati bejn l-2009 u l-2015 huma VW Jetta, Beetle u Golf, il-mudell Passat tal-2014-15, u l-mudell Audi A3 ta’ bejn l-2009 u l-2015. Minn dawn jidher li hemm ħdax-il miljun karozza imxerrda mat-toroq tad-dinja.

F’Malta sadanittant l-informazzjoni għadha qed tinġabar. Għax nhar is-Sibt tħabbar li Transport Malta fl-aħħar bdiet tiċċaqlaq u talbet l-informazzjoni lill-aġenti lokali biex tkun tista’ tagħmel il-verifiki meħtieġa.

X’qed tistenna Trasport Malta biex bħall-Isvizzera temporanjament twaqqaf il-bejgħ ta’ dawn il-karozzi billi żżommilhom il-ħruġ tal-liċenzja? X’qed tistenna Transport Malta biex tissospendi temporanjament il-liċenzji ta’ dawn il-karozzi diġa fit-toroq tagħna u mgħammra b’dan l-apparat li jaħbi t-tniġġiż rejali li jikkawżaw?

It-tniġġiz li qed jikkawzaw dawn il-karozzi huwa wieħed sostanzjali. Skond dak li diġa ntqal fil-media dan it-tniġġiż ivarja bejn 20 darba u 35 darba dak li hu permess.

L-istorja ħarġet fil-media l-ġimgħa l-oħra, imma r-riżultati tat-testijiet li saru ilha magħrufa 18-il xahar. Imma f’dawn it-18-il xahar ma sar xejn la mill-kumpanija Volksvagen u l-anqas mill-Gvern Ġermaniż, bit-tama li l-istorja tintesa.

Minflok, matul dawn it-18-il xahar inbiegħu iktar karozzi. B’hekk żdiedu iktar il-karozzi fit-toroq li jniġġsu ħafna iktar milli hu permess.

Hemm bżonn li Transport Malta tfittex tieħu passi billi tneħħi mit-toroq tagħna dawn il-karozzi li qed iniġgsu ħafna iktar milli hu permissibli. Irid jieqaf ukoll immedjatament il-bejgħ ta’ dawn il-karozzi sakemm isirulhom l-aġġustamenti neċessarji biex it-tniġġis li jikkawzaw jinġieb f’livell aċċettabbli.

Huma f’dawn il-mumenti li jkollna l-provi dwar kemm l-awtoritajiet f’Malta jaħdmu fl-interess tagħna lkoll.

kummentarju imxandar fuq RTK – It-Tnejn 28 ta’ Settembru 2015

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L-iskandlu tal-Volkswagen

Volkswagen. Das Cheater

 

Id-dettalji tal-iskandlu tal-Volkswagen  fl-iStati Uniti tal-Amerika għadhom ħerġin. L-istorja kollha, forsi, għadha mhux magħrufa s’issa.

Jidher li dan l-iskandlu jinvolvi madwar nofs miljun karozza li taħdem bid-diesel (qed issemma ukoll iċ-ċifra ferm ikbar ta’ 11-il miljun karozza) kif ukoll żieda ta’ madwar miljun tunellata ta’ emmissjonijiet ta’ NOx li jniġġzu l-arja u li  fil-parti l–kbira tagħhom huma ta’ ħsara għas-saħħa.

Dan jidher li seħħ minħabba li diversi karozzi prodotti mill-kumpanija Volkswagen kellhom apparat elettroniku stallat li kien inaqqas it-tniġġiz meta l-karozzi jkunu qed jiġu ittestjati liema apparat iżda ma kienx jaħdem f’ħin ieħor. Jidher li l-logħba kienet permezz ta’ software li kien istallat biex meta l-karozza tkun qed tiġi misjuqa b’mod normali l-kontrolli tal-emmissjoniiet kienu jintfew awtomatikament b’mod elettroniku. Dawn il-kontrolli iżda, kienu jerġgħu jinxtegħlu awtomatikament meta jkun għaddej xi test tal-emmissjonijiet.

Il-karozzi effettwati, mudelli li jaħdmu bid-diesel li ġew immanifatturati bejn l-2009 u l-2015 jidher li huma VW Jetta, Beetle u Golf, il-mudell Passat tal-2014-15, u l-mudell Audi A3 ta’ bejn l-2009 u l-2015.

Volkswagen qed tikkalkula li dan l-iskandlu ser jiswielha €6.5 biljuni fi ħsarat u possibilment mat-$18-il biljun f’multi fl-iStati Uniti tal-Amerika fejn ġie identifikat dan l-abbuż. Dan aparti multi f’pajjiżi oħra, kif ukoll, possibilment, proċeduri kriminali kontra d-diriġenti tal-kumpanija.

Il-ħsara lir-reputazzjoni tal-kumpanija, ukoll, diġa hi kbira ħafna.

Iktar tard illum, il-Kumitat tal-Ambjent tal-Parlament Ewropew ser jikkonkludi d-diskussjoni dwar abbozz ta’ leġislazzjoni li taġġorna r-regolamenti dwar it-tniġġiz mill-karozzi Euro 5 u Euro 6 applikabbli fl-Unjoni Ewropeja. Fi stqarrija li ħareġ il-bieraħ,  il-kelliemi tal-Ħodor Ewropej Bas Eickhout qal li ilu magħruf li l-manufatturi tal-karozzi fl-Unjoni Ewopeja qed iduru mar-regoli tat-tniġġiz tant li m’humiex josservawhom. L-iskandlu tal-Volkswagen fl-Istati Uniti għandu tiftaħ beraħ għajnejn kulħadd dwar dak li fil-fatt qed jiġri.

Nistennew li nkunu infurmati jekk ġewx mibjugħa minn dawn il-karozzi f’Malta u x’passi ser jittieħdu dwarhom.

World Water Week 2012

 

The Stockholm International Water Institute during the current week is organising the World Water Week. Focusing on the theme of water and food security this is the sixth consecutive year for the Swedish Institute.

In Malta water has been mismanaged for a large number of years. The ground water table is generally depleted. Where ground water is still available this is of poor quality.

Agriculture is one of the major users of water. It has also however contributed substantially to the contamination of the water table as is evidenced  in the various studies undertaken locally, amongst which that prepared for the Malta Resources Authority by the British Geological Society. This report is  entitled “A preliminary study on the identification of the sources of nitrate contamination in groundwater in Malta” and was concluded in 2009.

The existing large number of illegal boreholes are drying up what’s left of the water table transforming what ought to be a public commodity into a private asset as is evidenced by the bowsers transporting and selling water to hotels and swimming pool owners all over the island at a rate which is much cheaper that that charged by the Water Services Corporation (WSC). This is daylight robbery which has been made easy by the inaction or delayed action of the maltese authorities throughout the years.

The result is that ground water cannot satisfy the reqirements for human consumption in Malta. It is in fact supplemented by reverse osmois produced water: around 60% of the water supplied by the Water Services Corporation is reverse osmosis water derived from the sea!

 

Whilst WSC sources part of our water from purified sea water it simultaneously dumps into the sea treated sewage effluent. WSC designed all three sewage purification plants as an end of pipe solution intending specifically, on the drawing board to deal with sewage as waste instead of considering it as a precious resource. After all three plants have been commissioned WSC is considering potential uses of the treated water effluent. Such consideration should have been made at the planning stage years ago!

Later this year the European Union will publish a “Blueprint  to safeguard Europe’s water resources”. This was announced by EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik in a statement which he issued on the World Water Week earlier this week.

It is about time that this Blueprint is produced. Even though in Malta at this point it seems that there is little left to safeguard!

 

originally published in di-ve.com on 31 August 2012

Dealing with Environmental Crime

published July 9, 2011

 In late 2008, the European Union, through a joint decision of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, adopted Directive 99/2008 “on the protection of the environment through criminal law”.

Member states had to implement this directive by not later than December 26, 2010. Malta, together with 11 other EU member states, did not comply. As a result, on June 16, the EU Commission issued a warning to all 12 states to comply within two months.

The EU directive on the protection of the environment through criminal law does not create new environment legislation. It aims to consolidate existing laws through harmonising penalties that should be inflicted as well as by ensuring that these penalties are really a deterrent.

Annex A to the directive lists EU legislation (some 70 directives and regulations) subject to this directive’s provisions. This is wide ranging and includes legislation regulating waste, GMOs, air quality, quality of water for human consumption, use of sewage sludge in agriculture, use and transportation of hazardous materials, protection of water from nitrates originating from agriculture, trade in endangered species and many others.

Within EU structures, the Maltese government opposed provisions of the proposed directive. So it is no surprise that this resistance is also reflected in the implementation process. This gives a new significance to the Maltese government’s declarations on the importance the environment has in its political agenda.

During the discussion stage in the EU structures, representatives of the Malta government expressed a view contrary to the harmonisation of sanctions primarily on the basis of the economic disparity across the EU member states.

The impact assessment produced by the EU on the proposed directive had emphasised that, in the EU, there are three areas that organised crime focuses on to the detriment of the environment. These are illicit trade in ozone depleting substances, illicit hazardous waste treatment and disposal and illicit trade in endangered wildlife species. A study entitled Organised Environmental Crime In EU Member States (2003) quoted by the EU impact assessment also states that 73 per cent of researched environmental crime cases involve corporations or corporate-like structures.

Organised environmental crime, which has a turnover of billions of euros in the EU, can have a devastating effect on the economy. There are various examples which we can draw upon. The case of the contaminated mozzarella in the Naples environs in March 2008 is one such example. Organised crime pocketed substantial landfill charges for the handling of toxic and hazardous waste, which was subsequently dumped in areas that were reserved for the grazing of buffalo. The resulting buffalo mozzarella was contaminated with dioxin. The impacts on the mozzarella industry were substantial.

Proof of the operations of the eco-Mafia has also surfaced some time ago when Francesco Fonti, a Mafia turncoat, took the witness stand against the Calabria Mafia. We do recall information given as to the sinking in the Mediterranean of about 42 ships laden with toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste. One of the said ships has been located and identified off the coast of Reggio Calabria.

This network of organised environmental crime is so vast that, at a time, it also dumped toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in Somalia. The warlords in the Somalia civil war were financed by the eco-Mafia. They supplied them with arms in return for their consent to the dumping of the toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste. Italian journalists (RaiTre) who had tracked down the shipments were shot and murdered in Mogadishu.

The dumping of toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in the Mediterranean Sea can have very serious impacts on Malta. It contaminates what’s left of fish stocks but also, depending on the location used for dumping, it can impact Malta’s potable water, 60 per cent of which originates from seawater processed by reverse osmosis plants.

Given these serious impacts I would have expected that the Maltese government would be at the forefront in implementing the directive on environmental crime in order to ensure that issues of cross-border organised environmental crime are adequately tackled. It is indeed very unfortunate that the tools which the EU provides so that Malta can protect its real interests are continuously ignored. One cannot help but ask why.

Law firm Hugo Lepage & Partners, in a comparative study commissioned by the EU Commission and entitled Study On Environmental Crime In The 27 Member States (2007), repeatedly identifies penalties for environmental crime in Malta as being at the lower end of the scale in the EU. The message that gets through is that environmental crime is treated lightly in Malta. Malta is not alone in this respect: it enjoys the company of a small number of other countries.

Environmental crime should be punished through penalties that are effective and proportionate to the environmental damage carried out or envisaged. It is in Malta’s interest that this is done expeditiously.