ENGOs support Front Ħarsien ODZ’s call for a protest march
6th June 2015
The undersigned environmental NGOs announce that they will be participating in Front Ħarsien ODZ’s protest march on the 20th of June 2015, and encourage the public to attend the said march.
The NGOs believe that any development that increases the urbanisation of ODZ areas is unacceptable, and maintain that compromising on this point has caused untold damage to the nation’s countryside over the past years. Any new investment should take place within the development boundaries.
In particular the NGOs condemn any attempt to once again alter the development boundaries, as well as the attitude being taken that investment is only viable if located on ‘cheap’ ODZ land.
The remaining ODZ land serves as an invaluable public benefit and should not be sacrificed to the advantage of private investors just because its location outside the development zone makes its market price artifically cheap.
The NGOs also support Front Harsien ODZ’s demand for the implementation of the national park at Zonqor point as provided by the Local Plan issued in 2006. They also deplore attempts to reduce the area of said park by building the ‘American University’ on this site, or by implementing only part of the area as a national park, leaving the rest open to potential development in the future. The implementation of the natural park should not interfere with the farmers’ livelihoods and the area should be cleaned of debris systematically dumped on this site.
The NGOs thus unite to encourage all Maltese proud of their country to stand and be counted in defence of the little that remains of our over-exploited natural environment. A strong but peaceful national protest will send a strong message to the authorities, and to all politicians, that non-agricultural development in ODZ areas can never be regarded as a sustainable in the long term, nor justifiable to future generations. Indeed, all efforts in the future need to be instead focused on the regeneration of under-utilised sites within the development zone.
The NGOs signing this appeal are the following: Ramblers’ Association of Malta, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Greenhouse Malta, Birdlife Malta and Nature Trust Malta.