The ‘80,000 trees for Ta’ Qali project’ re-announced

DOI - James Galea

Government has re-announced the major clean up and maintenance project which will give the family picnic area in Ta’ Qali a “much needed” major revamp. It is estimated that around 80,000 trees will be planted.

The project will replace a large swathe of land used by large contractors for the illegal dumping of construction waste. Newsbook.com.mt had revealed this abuse in a number of investigative stories. It also highlighted the inaction of the police.

Read: Ta’ Qali illegal dumping: Police cover-up?

Project announced last May

The project had been originally announced last May in the run-up to the EU Parliament Elections but has been announced once again by a number of cabinet ministers.

Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change José Herrera said that as part of the regeneration project of the Ta’ Qali National Park, 80,000 trees will be planted and will be managed by Ambjent Malta. Herrera stated that Government will continue working towards improving the current situation of public and open spaces.

He added with a €20 million investment, an open space of not less than 450,000 square metres, as large as 60 football pitches, will be created.

This National Park will include recreational spaces, camping spaces, concert spaces, walking and cycling facilities, a platform for art and the national archives, facilities for farmers, and an extension of the dog park.

Watch: Ta’ Qali expansion, 3rd the size of London’s Hyde Park – Muscat

“Tax payers pay principle”

The project is being carried out on a former concrete factory site. Newsbook.com.mt had revealed that massive illegal dumping of construction waste was going on. Our investigative reports mentioned the dates when this happened, the area from which the construction waste was taken, the company whose trucks were on site and the presence of the police due to which an exercise of illegal dumping was abandoned. Although the police denied this, two journalists from Newsbook.com.mt were on the spot and saw a police car stop one of the trucks.

Minister Herrera had told Newsbook.com.mt that the illegal dumping in Tà Qali is not the Government’s fault, but the blame should be put on the people who produced the waste. This means that manufacturers should pay for the cost of recycling and disposal of any waste they may produce.

Since now it is the tax payers who are going to pay for the clean-up, an environmentalist contacted by Newsbook.com.mt asks whether the “polluter pays principle” was now being replaced by the “tax payers pay principle”.

Watch: An orgy of massive illegal dumping at Ta’ Qali

Read: Ta’ Qali eco-disaster: Bonnici Brothers ‘unaware’, Police silent, PA Acts