Over the past few weeks, Newsbook has been investigating massive illegal dumping which was being carried out in Ta’ Qali. The site is enormous, the spread larger than a football pitch. Since the start of this year when the Google image was taken, the site, while not pretty, could at least be rehabilitated. Now it is almost beyond hope, and I am being optimistic.
While we have published videos and pictures and, I must say we have many more in reserve, none of the visuals comes close to the physical experience. The sheer enormity of this flagrant act of environmental vandalism is awesome. The gall required to dump a seemingly inexhaustible supply of construction debris just meters away from a place where children play smacks of the arrogance of untouchables. All that separates this eco-disaster from the recreational area is a little lane screened by a meagre row of trees. I wonder if those trees are thinking “When will it be my turn for execution?”
The Planning Authority, uncharacteristically swift but laudable in any case, sealed off the premises after it had issued a stop and enforcement notice in March. However, this begs the perennial question. In a country where the natural propensity is to break the law, strengthening the law is a must. In a case like this making an example out of the perpetrators to the extent that the offence becomes economically unrepeatable may help in starting to foster an compulsion to observe the law. One cannot fail to observe the highly lamentable lack of communication from the side of the police force. A speedy initial reply seemed to augur well but, when push came to shove, silence reigned. A case like this raises various questions:
- Does the owner of the site know of the persistent dumping?
- Is there an illicit business going on somewhere with surreptitious fees being charged for dumping on this site, perhaps by a person masquerading as the owner?
- Is the dumping a pre-cursor to calling the site ‘disturbed’ in the age-old jargon of the Periti confraternity, and therefore rendering it developable?
- Is this simply a case of Scroogeitis with companies dumping on this site to avoid paying for legal dumping of construction waste?
Whatever the case may be, anyone in his right mind would see this for what it is: a group of people who could not care less if they are spoiling the countryside because for them only making money is important. Probably, such actions stem from the fact that they can take their families abroad to be awed by mountains and lakes. We value our land. We value our lifestyle and we cannot understand who would possibly aid and abet these people though comments such as these which we took from our Facebook page. But then, perhaps, these people too may have a vested interest, who knows? Certainly it is not that of our country.