2013

Environment Groups are extremely concerned by the Authorities' lack of protection of the environment. The first eight months of this administration have been marked by the introduction of several new policies in favour of more construction, relaxation of existing building regulations, condoning of illegalities and scant enforcement. 

 All this clearly reveals that the administration's commitment is to the development lobby and not to the residents of Malta's towns and villages or to the protection of our fragile environment. 

Proposals are being made to facilitate construction in our town and village cores by demolishing traditional architecture and destroying urban gardens – essential urban lungs. The permit granted to build 744 apartments at Mistra is a precedent that will allow tall buildings on hills and ridges to change our landscapes for ever, while land reclamation will lead to our coasts becoming even more built up. 

New regulations encouraging agri-tourism are full of loopholes to bring more building into our countryside, while businesses are to be allowed to encroach into residential areas.  Hotels are to rise without limit, reducing the light, air and solar rights of neighbouring homes. Both MEPA and the Lands Department are failing to curb rampant abuse, while trees continue to be damaged and destroyed. This all erodes residents’ rights and contributes to undermining our health and our quality of life. No studies have been carried out to establish why  our towns or countryside need more building  when these islands have tens of thousands of vacant residential properties  Without an overall strategic plan in place it is just short-term profit over long term benefit that is driving this government to encourage development.

Environment and residents’ groups cannot, and will not sit idly by while these laws are introduced that will further undermine our health and surroundings by the very authorities whose duty it is to safeguard the environment. 

Therefore, the environment groups Flimkien g?al Ambjent A?jar, Din l-Art ?elwa, Ramblers Association, Friends of the Earth, NatureTrust Malta, MOAM, Graffitti, Greenhouse Malta, Birdlife Malta  call the public to join them on Saturday 30th November at 10.30am in protest against government’s intention to continue selling off Malta to speculators.

Car Free Day to be organised on September 22nd

 

Click here to submit your pictures !

 

carfreeday2013

Car free day isn't just about one day without any cars or motor traffic on our roads. It's a day when we're all given the chance to consider how the negative aspects of too much traffic weigh down all our lives. More than that, it's an opportunity to think of better, smarter ways for individual traffic to be organised in the future.

 

There are few places in the world where it's more obvious how badly new ideas for different concepts of individual traffic are needed. A quick walk in a traffic-heavy area is enough for us to experience the quality of the air ourselves when there are too many cars on the road.

What alternatives do we actually have?

This is what the PHOTO/graphic Competition "Car free Experience" is about.

Friends of the Earth Malta would like to invite you to share your individual experience with alternative means of transport in Malta. Maybe you'll be using the services of Arriva, or perhaps your own bicycle. For shorter distances you might try walking or maybe even using some exotic vehicle like a donkey cart. Whatever mode of transportation you decide to use, let us know about your own picturesque experience with car freeness.

The submitted pictures – or alternatively pieces of graphic designs like posters – should be story-telling, contain a visual message and make your personal point about a desirable development of public spaces and mobility. You can expand on this pictorial story with a short caption of up to 30 words and with a relevant image title.

The competition is open for your submissions until September 22nd. Late submissions will not be considered.

The best pictures will be presented in a public exhibition later this year. Also Friends of the Earth Malta will be awarding prizes for the best three pictures and stories. Details will be published in the next days.

Entries should be made via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or submitted through the online form and will be published on the Friends of the Earth Malta Facebook page. Entries MUST include participant's name, contact number and home address.

Each participant can submit up to FOUR photos / graphic designs of their car free experience each, under one title and with a short caption (30 words max) describing their car free journey.

This event is being made possible with support provided by MEPA.

Terms and Conditions
1. By entering the contest, you give Friends of the Earth Malta the right to publish the submitted photo(s) in FoE Malta publications as well as on the FoE Malta site and Facebook page.
2. We reserve the right to crop the images as we see fit. No manipulation or colour adjustment will be performed on submitted works.
3. Entries must be your own work.
4. Entries should not have won previous competitions, and should not have been published elsewhere.
5. No responsibility is accepted for ineligible entries or entries made fraudulently.
6. By entering this competition, you are accepting these rules and agree to be bound by them.

 

Click here to submit your pictures !

carfreeday2013

 

* indicates required field{rsform 4}

Please only click the Submit button once and wait for the confirmation message to be displayed on the webpage. It may take a while depending on the size of the photos being uploaded.

 

Thank you for taking part in the "Car free Adventures" Photo Competition 2013!

Friends of the Earth Malta joined the Coalition in favour of the abolition of spring hunting which has been established today [1].

Its objectives are to ensure that spring hunting is brought to an end in Malta as soon as possible.  The Coalition will do this through lobbying both in Malta and at a European level.

The Coalition has begun the collection of signatures for an abrogative referendum relative to spring hunting legislation [2].

The Coalition is focusing on the abolition of spring hunting because it is the time of year when birds are most vulnerable.  They are migrating through Malta on their way to breed.  A bird saved in spring has the chance to breed and increase the bird population.

 

The secretariat of the Coalition can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] The Coalition is made up of eleven organisations: Alternattiva Demokratika, Birdlife Malta, Coalition for Animal Rights, Din l-Art Helwa, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Gaia Foundation, Moviment Graffiti, Greenhouse Malta, Nature Trust (Malta) and the Ramblers Association of Malta.

 

[2] The legislation the coalition is seeking to abolish is the “Framework for Allowing a Derogation Opening a Spring Hunting Season for Turtledove and Quail Regulations”(Subsidiary Legislation 504.94 – Legal Notice 221 of 2010)

In a statement made this morning, Friends of the Earth Malta showed its support to Alternattiva Demokratika's initiative asking for a referendum to prohibit derogations permitting spring hunting. Friends of the Earth also confirmed that it will join the Coalition Against Spring Hunting.
For too long, the country has been held to ransom by a large minority when most Maltese abhor the hunting and trapping of birds. Friends of the Earth Malta encourages other NGOs to join the coalition since this the only correct democratic path which would ultimately give government a legal mandate on how to proceed on this contentious issue.

In a statement issued today, Friends of the Earth Malta showed its support to Alternattiva Demokratika's initiative asking for a referendum to prohibit derogations permitting spring hunting. Friends of the Earth also confirmed that it will join the Coalition Against Spring Hunting.

 

For too long, the country has been held to ransom by a large minority when most Maltese abhor the hunting and trapping of birds. Friends of the Earth Malta encourages other NGOs to join the coalition since this the only correct democratic path which would ultimately give government a legal mandate on how to proceed on this contentious issue.

REACTION to: “Glyphosate does not present unacceptable dangers to environment, humans – government”
In a reaction to the statement issued by the Maltese Government, FoE Malta would like to invite government to issue the studies which test for glyphosate contamination on food samples and their residues in humans.
The truth is that very little testing has been done for glyphosate so far in Europe, with just five countries testing any cereals in 2009, and 15 countries in 2010. A new testing programme was introduced in 2012, which will test for glyphosate in oats and rye in 2013, wheat flour in 2014 and wheat in 2015. No tests at all are carried out on GM soybeans used in animal feed in any European country.
As for the claim that Glyphosate has a “low” toxicity, Glyphosate was approved for EU-wide use in 2002 but the European regulatory agencies did not carry out their own safety testing, relying instead on data provided by the manufacturers and industry studies, not from peer-reviewed science, and is not available for independent scrutiny. Friends of the Earth is concerned that the regulatory authorities have not properly considered independent science on glyphosate. It is important that the public should have confidence in the approvals process – but how can we trust a regulatory system when it relies on studies that have been funded by industry and which are classed as confidential?
Independent studies have shown that low levels of glyphosate may affect the human hormone system and that it may also affect the ability of cells to reproduce – causing possible genetic mutations and an increased risk of cancer. In parts of South America where glyphosate-tolerant GM soy is grown extensively, there have been reports of increases in rates of cancer and birth defects. One study in Paraguay found that the babies of women living within one kilometre of fields sprayed with glyphosate were more than twice as likely to have birth defects. In the soy-growing Chaco district of Argentina, cancer rates have increased fourfold in the last decade. (references below)
Friends of the Earth Malta can confirm that the test followed a standard scientific methodology and samples were sent to a reputable lab in Germany together with other samples from 17 other European countries. The technical report is readily available and in fact was distributed to Maltese journalists who requested a copy of it.
As already pointed out in the original statement issued by Friends of the Earth, the main aim of this investigation was to test whether this herbicide has made it into our bodies. The result is a yes; what's even more worrying is that the Maltese sample of positives was higher than anywhere else. We're not in a position to speculate about the source; but it sure does raise questions. In fact Friends of the Earth Malta would like to ask government the following questions:
• Why do people have glyphosate in their urine? Where does it come from?
• Why haven´t public authorities ever published the results they claim to have done when it comes to testing on glyphosate residues in humans, in food, animal feeds (such as imported soy) and drinking water, if any?
• What are the health impacts of glyphosate in our bodies? Is it guaranteed that glyphosate residues are completely excreted? If not, what happens to the remaining residues?
• Why haven´t there been any long-term health studies on on-going glyphosate uptake in humans?
• Why have the maximum residue levels (MRLs) for glyphosate in food and feed been steadily increased?
• Who is profiting from increasing glyphosate use?
• Why are there no recent figures on herbicide / pesticide use in Malta since 2007?
• What is government’s position concerning applications to grow glyphosate-resistant genetically modified crops in Europe? Will government vote against cultivation of these crops?
Benítez-Leite S, Macchi ML & Acosta M (2009) Malformaciones congénitas asociadas a agrotóxicos [Congenital malformations associated with toxic agricultural chemicals]. Archivos de Pediatría del Uruguay Vol 80 pp237-247.
2  López SL et al (2012) Pesticides Used in South American GMO-Based Agriculture: A Review of Their Effects on Humans and Animal Models.  Advances in Molecular Toxicology Vol. 6 pp. 41-75glyphosate2en

glyphosate2enIn a reaction to the statement issued by the Maltese Government, FoE Malta would like to invite government to issue the studies which test for glyphosate contamination on food samples and their residues in humans.

The truth is that very little testing has been done for glyphosate so far in Europe, with just five countries testing any cereals in 2009, and 15 countries in 2010. A new testing programme was introduced in 2012, which will test for glyphosate in oats and rye in 2013, wheat flour in 2014 and wheat in 2015. No tests at all are carried out on GM soybeans used in animal feed in any European country. 

 

As for the claim that Glyphosate has a “low” toxicity, Glyphosate was approved for EU-wide use in 2002 but the European regulatory agencies did not carry out their own safety testing, relying instead on data provided by the manufacturers and industry studies, not from peer-reviewed science, and is not available for independent scrutiny. Friends of the Earth is concerned that the regulatory authorities have not properly considered independent science on glyphosate. It is important that the public should have confidence in the approvals process – but how can we trust a regulatory system when it relies on studies that have been funded by industry and which are classed as confidential?


Independent studies have shown that low levels of glyphosate may affect the human hormone system and that it may also affect the ability of cells to reproduce – causing possible genetic mutations and an increased risk of cancer. In parts of South America where glyphosate-tolerant GM soy is grown extensively, there have been reports of increases in rates of cancer and birth defects. One study in Paraguay found that the babies of women living within one kilometre of fields sprayed with glyphosate were more than twice as likely to have birth defects. In the soy-growing Chaco district of Argentina, cancer rates have increased fourfold in the last decade. (references below)


Friends of the Earth Malta can confirm that the test followed a standard scientific methodology and samples were sent to a reputable lab in Germany together with other samples from 17 other European countries. The technical report is readily available and in fact was distributed to Maltese journalists who requested a copy of it.


As already pointed out in the original statement issued by Friends of the Earth, the main aim of this investigation was to test whether this herbicide has made it into our bodies. The result is a yes; what's even more worrying is that the Maltese sample of positives was higher than anywhere else. We're not in a position to speculate about the source; but it sure does raise questions. In fact Friends of the Earth Malta would like to ask government the following questions:


• Why do people have glyphosate in their urine? Where does it come from?

• Why haven´t public authorities ever published the results they claim to have done when it comes to testing on glyphosate residues in humans, in food, animal feeds (such as imported soy) and drinking water, if any?

• What are the health impacts of glyphosate in our bodies? Is it guaranteed that glyphosate residues are completely excreted? If not, what happens to the remaining residues?

• Why haven´t there been any long-term health studies on on-going glyphosate uptake in humans?

• Why have the maximum residue levels (MRLs) for glyphosate in food and feed been steadily increased?

• Who is profiting from increasing glyphosate use? 

• Why are there no recent figures on herbicide / pesticide use in Malta since 2007?

• What is government’s position concerning applications to grow glyphosate-resistant genetically modified crops in Europe? Will government vote against cultivation of these crops? 

[1] Benítez-Leite S, Macchi ML & Acosta M (2009) Malformaciones congénitas asociadas a agrotóxicos [Congenital malformations associated with toxic agricultural chemicals]. Archivos de Pediatría del Uruguay Vol 80 pp237-247.


[2] López SL et al (2012) Pesticides Used in South American GMO-Based Agriculture: A Review of Their Effects on Humans and Animal Models.  Advances in Molecular Toxicology Vol. 6 pp. 41-75

World’s biggest selling weed killer found in humans
90% of urine samples in Malta contained traces of glyphosate.
Tests carried out by Friends of the Earth Malta show that people have traces of the weed killer glyphosate in their bodies. Laboratory tests carried out by the group reveal that 9 out of 10 people’s urine samples in Malta contained traces of glyphosate.
The results in Malta are mirrored in results across Europe – with 45% of samples from volunteers in 18 countries found to contain traces of the chemical [1]. All of the volunteers who gave samples live in urban areas, and none had handled or used glyphosate products in the run up to the tests. This is the first time monitoring has been carried out across Europe for the presence of the weed killer in humans.
Glyphosate is one of the most widely-used weed killers in the world, used by farmers, local government and gardeners, as well as being sprayed extensively on some genetically modified crops imported into Europe for use as animal feed. The biggest producer is Monsanto which sells it under the brand name “Roundup”. Despite its widespread use, its presence in food or water is rarely monitored by governments.
Martin Galea De Giovanni from Friends of the Earth Malta said:
“Most people will be worried to discover that there is weed killer in their bodies and will want to know why it is there and what effects it is having. These results suggest that we are being exposed to glyphosate in our everyday lives, yet we don’t know where it is coming from, how widespread it is in the environment, or what it is doing to our bodies.
This is the most used weed killer in Europe and it is surprising that public authorities rarely test our food or water for it. Now that Friends of the Earth Malta has discovered that it is widespread in people’s bodies, it is asking the Maltese Government to immediately step-up their monitoring to make sure we are not being put at risk.”
In Europe, glyphosate is widely used by farmers to clear weeds from fields before planting, or before seeds have germinated. It is also sometimes sprayed on to cereal crops, oilseed rape, maize and sunflowers ahead of harvesting to dry out the crops. It is the most commonly used weed killer on UK arable farms [2], on 39% of agricultural land in Germany [3] and levels of glyphosate use in Europe are increasing. As for Malta, the latest NSO figures for herbicide use (2007) [4] show a possible increase in glyphosate usage in Malta (as compared to 2005). The high rates obtained from the Maltese sample demands an even more serious investigation into the source of these herbicides.
Fourteen glyphosate-resistant genetically modified (GM) crops are currently waiting for approval for cultivation in the European Union. Some estimates suggest that if given the go-ahead, glyphosate use could increase by as much as 800% [5].
Contact:
[Martin Galea De Giovanni – Chairperson Friends of the Earth Malta – tel: 79420042]
[Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth Europe, tel: 00 49 1 609 490 1163]
Notes:
[1] Urine samples were collected from volunteers in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Malta, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the UK. Volunteers were all city-dwellers and included vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets. No two samples were tested from the same household. The samples were analysed by Dr Hoppe at Medizinisches Labor Bremen in Germany (http://www.mlhb.de/). Dr Hoppe can be contacted on tel: 00 49 421 207 20
[2] See: Garthwaite DG et al (2010) Pesticide Usage Survey Report 235: Arable Crops In The United Kingdom 2010 Food & Environment Research Agency, DEFRA, UK.  Table 5
[3] Steinmann HH, Dickeduisberg M & Theuvsen L (2012) Uses and benefits of glyphosate in German arable farming Crop Protection Vol 42 pp 164-169
[4] Plant protection products usage on crops in Malta – 2007 (NSO) http://www.nso.gov.mt/statdoc/document_file.aspx?id=2202
[5] See:Benbrook CM (2012) Glyphosate tolerant crops in the EU: a forecast of impacts on herbicide use. Greenpeace International

90% of urine samples in Malta contained traces of glyphosate.

 

glyphosate2enTests carried out by Friends of the Earth Malta show that people have traces of the weed killer glyphosate in their bodies. Laboratory tests carried out by the group reveal that 9 out of 10 people’s urine samples in Malta contained traces of glyphosate.


The results in Malta are mirrored in results across Europe – with 45% of samples from volunteers in 18 countries found to contain traces of the chemical [1]. All of the volunteers who gave samples live in urban areas, and none had handled or used glyphosate products in the run up to the tests. This is the first time monitoring has been carried out across Europe for the presence of the weed killer in humans.


Glyphosate is one of the most widely-used weed killers in the world, used by farmers, local government and gardeners, as well as being sprayed extensively on some genetically modified crops imported into Europe for use as animal feed. The biggest producer is Monsanto which sells it under the brand name “Roundup”. Despite its widespread use, its presence in food or water is rarely monitored by governments. 


Martin Galea De Giovanni from Friends of the Earth Malta said: “Most people will be worried to discover that there is weed killer in their bodies and will want to know why it is there and what effects it is having. These results suggest that we are being exposed to glyphosate in our everyday lives, yet we don’t know where it is coming from, how widespread it is in the environment, or what it is doing to our bodies.


This is the most used weed killer in Europe and it is surprising that public authorities rarely test our food or water for it. Now that Friends of the Earth Malta has discovered that it is widespread in people’s bodies, it is asking the Maltese Government to immediately step-up their monitoring to make sure we are not being put at risk.” 

 

In Europe, glyphosate is widely used by farmers to clear weeds from fields before planting, or before seeds have germinated. It is also sometimes sprayed on to cereal crops, oilseed rape, maize and sunflowers ahead of harvesting to dry out the crops. It is the most commonly used weed killer on UK arable farms [2], on 39% of agricultural land in Germany [3] and levels of glyphosate use in Europe are increasing. As for Malta, the latest NSO figures for herbicide use (2007) [4] show a possible increase in glyphosate usage in Malta (as compared to 2005). The high rates obtained from the Maltese sample demands an even more serious investigation into the source of these herbicides. 


Fourteen glyphosate-resistant genetically modified (GM) crops are currently waiting for approval for cultivation in the European Union. Some estimates suggest that if given the go-ahead, glyphosate use could increase by as much as 800% [5].

 

 

 


Contact:[Martin Galea De Giovanni – Chairperson Friends of the Earth Malta – tel: 79420042]
[Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth Europe, tel: 00 49 1 609 490 1163]
Notes:[1] Urine samples were collected from volunteers in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Macedonia, Malta, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the UK. Volunteers were all city-dwellers and included vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets. No two samples were tested from the same household. The samples were analysed by Dr Hoppe at Medizinisches Labor Bremen in Germany (http://www.mlhb.de/). Dr Hoppe can be contacted on tel: 00 49 421 207 20
[2] See: Garthwaite DG et al (2010) Pesticide Usage Survey Report 235: Arable Crops In The United Kingdom 2010 Food & Environment Research Agency, DEFRA, UK.  Table 5
[3] Steinmann HH, Dickeduisberg M & Theuvsen L (2012) Uses and benefits of glyphosate in German arable farming Crop Protection Vol 42 pp 164-169
[4] Plant protection products usage on crops in Malta – 2007 (NSO) http://www.nso.gov.mt/statdoc/document_file.aspx?id=2202
[5] See:Benbrook CM (2012) Glyphosate tolerant crops in the EU: a forecast of impacts on herbicide use. Greenpeace International

 

Friends of the Earth Malta joined six other NGOs in a statement highlighting their concerns over the recent agreement between the PL and FKNK on hunting and trapping on the Maltese Islands.

 

BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Helwa, Flimkien g?al Ambjent A?jar (FAA), Friends of the Earth Malta, Gaia Foundation, Greenhouse Malta, and Nature Trust (Malta) are deeply concerned about both the underlying process that has led to an agreement between the PL and FKNK as well as its content.

 

Recent statements from both PL and FKNK indicate that the agreement is the result of two years of private negotiations between the political party and the hunting lobby. The environmental NGOs do not consider this to have been an open and transparent process and do not regard it as an appropriate way to shape the environmental policies of a potential future government. There have been no similar long-term and on-going discussions between the PL and the above named environmental NGOs on wildlife and countryside issues. Therefore the NGOs are concerned that PL is developing policies which have not taken account of the expertise of all appropriate stakeholders, especially those organisations who care for and manage Malta's outstanding natural heritage.


It is of great concern to the NGO's that the agreement between the FKNK and PL is likely to cause more harm to birds, wildlife and the countryside and that this forms the basis for a future government's priorities on wildlife and countryside issues. The above named environmental NGOs strongly believe that anyone who is elected to government has an obligation to address issues like hunting in a balanced manner and should therefore listen to both hunters and environmental groups. Aarhus Convention rules state clearly that environmental decisions must be taken with public consultation and participation, and therefore no negotiations are to be conducted and concluded without such participation.

 

The above named NGOs referred to BirdLife Malta's analysis of the agreement between FKNK and PL and endorsed this analysis, concluding that if the agreement was to be fully implemented bird conservation on the Maltese islands would face a bleak future, while issues such as the safe access to the countryside of the people of Malta would become more difficult because the illegal occupation of the countryside by the hunters and trappers was not addressed in the agreement between PL and FKNK.

 

Today, PN have published an advertisement criticising the agreement between PL and the hunters. The NGOs would also like to point out that while PL has made its position at least mildly clear through its agreement with hunters, PN's position on hunting and its impact on wildlife and the people of Malta requires more clarification than has been provided in today's advertisement. There is still time for PN to do this.

 

The above named NGOs are non-partisan and while AD have a clear policy on spring hunting, there are other issues relating to hunting and trapping where their position requires some clarification too.

Din L-Art Helwa, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Nature Trust (Malta), Ramblers Association and Friends of the Earth (Malta), Birdlife Malta Green House,  and Gaia Foundation
NGOs’ Stand on Electoral Manifestos
Environment NGOs Din L-Art Helwa, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Nature Trust (Malta), Ramblers Association and Friends of the Earth (Malta), Birdlife Malta, Greenhouse and Gaia Foundation express their serious concern at the way that environment issues are being used as vote-catching pawns. The many crucial issues, that are foremost in the public mind regarding the future of our environment, should be addressed with the dignity and importance that deserves our future quality of life.
The way the main parties are turning the election campaign into a boxing match is most inappropriate. It is also deplorable that proposed changes to environment policies are bandied about superficially and obscurely.
The NGOs are therefore not satisfied with the inadequate statements proposed by the two leading political parties and require clear concrete proposals on the following issues:
· The protection of Natura 2000 and SAC sites that deserve the highest level of central protection and not local level protection of Local Councils;
· The improvement of air quality through measures addressing transport pollution, which is costing the nation millions of euros;
· Restrict over-development until a serious analysis of the carrying capacity of sustainable construction is carried out;
· Organise law enforcement and effective action against illegal structures and illicit squatting especially in ODZ, with special reference to the Armier boat houses unlawfully constructed on usurped public land
· End illegal hunting and trapping and ensure the right law enforcement structures
· Stop the decline of both terrestrial and marine biodiversity through adequate conservation measures
· Ensure freedom of access to the countryside and the foreshore by the formation of a definitive map of the Maltese Islands
· Ensure animal rights and take action on animal cruelty
Furthermore the environmental NGOs are not satisfied by what has been divulged so far by the two main parties on their electoral programmes. The eNGOs are concerned that in the PN programme :
· No action is mentioned to address the issue of illlegal boreholes;
· Unlawfully built structures prior to 2009 will be sanctioned, when the way forward should be to take legal action to reverse illegality and fine the culprits;
· The National Environment policy launched last year is still not being implemented by all government ministries in a horizontal manner;
· The underwater tunnel to Gozo has been promised without its disruptive impact on land and seabed being take in into account.
In the case of the LP programme the eNGOs are concerned that:
· The security risks to neighbourhoods of the proposed gas tanks at Delimara Point have not been adequately considered or to the valuable heritage and natural resources of the Deliminara peninsula;
· LP leader Dr Joseph Muscat stated that economic measures will override environmental ones and that development is a pillar of our economy, when in fact it is undermining our banking system, tourism and public health.
· Unlawfully built structures prior to 2009 will be legalized, when the way forward should be to take legal action to reverse illegality and fine the culprits;
While also deploring the attack on the AD Chairman in connection with AD ‘s stand on the Armier illegal boathouses, the group call on the main parties to be clear on their intentions and address the issues that have for long been bypassed.Seven environmental groups have expressed serious concern at the way environmental issues were being used as vote-catching pawns.

Friends of the Earth Malta joined six other environmental groups to express serious concern at the way environmental issues were being used as vote-catching pawns.

Environment NGOs Din L-Art Helwa, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Nature Trust (Malta), Ramblers Association and Friends of the Earth Malta, Birdlife Malta, Greenhouse and Gaia Foundation express their serious concern at the way that environment issues are being used as vote-catching pawns. The many crucial issues, that are foremost in the public mind regarding the future of our environment, should be addressed with the dignity and importance that deserves our future quality of life.


The way the main parties are turning the election campaign into a boxing match is most inappropriate. It is also deplorable that proposed changes to environment policies are bandied about superficially and obscurely.


The NGOs are therefore not satisfied with the inadequate statements proposed by the two leading political parties and require clear concrete proposals on the following issues:
  • The protection of Natura 2000 and SAC sites that deserve the highest level of central protection and not local level protection of Local Councils;
  • The improvement of air quality through measures addressing transport pollution, which is costing the nation millions of euros;
  • Restrict over-development until a serious analysis of the carrying capacity of sustainable construction is carried out;
  • Organise law enforcement and effective action against illegal structures and illicit squatting especially in ODZ, with special reference to the Armier boat houses unlawfully constructed on usurped public land
  • End illegal hunting and trapping and ensure the right law enforcement structures
  • Stop the decline of both terrestrial and marine biodiversity through adequate conservation measures
  • Ensure freedom of access to the countryside and the foreshore by the formation of a definitive map of the Maltese Islands
  • Ensure animal rights and take action on animal cruelty

Furthermore the environmental NGOs are not satisfied by what has been divulged so far by the two main parties on their electoral programmes.

The eNGOs are concerned that in the PN programme :

  • No action is mentioned to address the issue of illlegal boreholes;
  • Unlawfully built structures prior to 2009 will be sanctioned, when the way forward should be to take legal action to reverse illegality and fine the culprits;
  • The National Environment policy launched last year is still not being implemented by all government ministries in a horizontal manner;
  • The underwater tunnel to Gozo has been promised without its disruptive impact on land and seabed being take in into account.
In the case of the LP programme the eNGOs are concerned that:
  • The security risks to neighbourhoods of the proposed gas tanks at Delimara Point have not been adequately considered or to the valuable heritage and natural resources of the Deliminara peninsula;
  • LP leader Dr Joseph Muscat stated that economic measures will override environmental ones and that development is a pillar of our economy, when in fact it is undermining our banking system, tourism and public health.
  • Unlawfully built structures prior to 2009 will be legalized, when the way forward should be to take legal action to reverse illegality and fine the culprits;
While also deploring the attack on the AD Chairman in connection with AD ‘s stand on the Armier illegal boathouses, the group call on the main parties to be clear on their intentions and address the issues that have for long been bypassed.
The Ramblers’ Association of Malta, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of the Earth Malta and Nature Trust (Malta) are deeply concerned at the news of the threatening letter received by Alternattiva Demokratika leader Dr Michael Briguglio in connection with his party’s strong stand over the boathouses at Armier and elsewhere..
The three environmental organisations repeat that they are against all abusive takeovers of public land and condemn the disgraceful inaction of successive governments in the face of such shameless abuse by a few hundreds.
The situation has now escalated to a deplorable extent while some interested individuals are doing their utmost to convince the public that the situation is out of control and cannot be remedied; that we all have to accept it, condone all past abuses and move on. In plain language, those who have stolen what belongs to us all, and not to any political party, may enjoy it for the exclusive use of their present families and of their future generations.  This  tolerance of illegality is unacceptable, and encourages the mentality of abuse that is gradually pervading our country.
People need to believe in the rule of law  and to understand that retroactive laws, which restore to the people what was stolen from them, are just and necessary. NO political party should allow itself to be held to ransom by ANY bullies or pressure groups as this undermines good governance, the cornerstone of a country’s well being.

The Ramblers’ Association of Malta, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar, Friends of the Earth Malta and Nature Trust (Malta) are deeply concerned at the news of the threatening letter received by Alternattiva Demokratika leader Dr Michael Briguglio in connection with his party’s strong stand over the boathouses at Armier and elsewhere.


The four environmental organisations repeat that they are against all abusive takeovers of public land and condemn the disgraceful inaction of successive governments in the face of such shameless abuse by a few hundreds.


The situation has now escalated to a deplorable extent while some interested individuals are doing their utmost to convince the public that the situation is out of control and cannot be remedied; that we all have to accept it, condone all past abuses and move on. In plain language, those who have stolen what belongs to us all, and not to any political party, may enjoy it for the exclusive use of their present families and of their future generations.  This  tolerance of illegality is unacceptable, and encourages the mentality of abuse that is gradually pervading our country.  


People need to believe in the rule of law  and to understand that retroactive laws, which restore to the people what was stolen from them, are just and necessary. NO political party should allow itself to be held to ransom by ANY bullies or pressure groups as this undermines good governance, the cornerstone of a country’s well being.

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