The Malta Independent 21 May 2019, Tuesday

Pollution of the seas

Alfred Sant Monday, 11 March 2019, 08:02 Last update: about 3 months ago

A friend with good credentials in environmental activism came to tell that we need to beware of assuming that the control over marine pollution around the coasts of Malta is a done thing. According to him, there is a probability that measurements being recorded as to how, and how much, the sea is “clean” may only reflect occasional moments when improvement happened. Such moments can easily reverse direction towards a deterioration that simply cannot be ignored. There is evidence, he claimed, to show that the meadows and other vegetation which are located (or used to be) in our waters are slowly rotting.

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I wonder whether this is the same kind of pessimism about the environment that we frequently get from people, some of whom do not always seem to have transparent agendas. On the other hand, the threat identified by my friend is not one to be filed away on the spot. The sea is one of the few national resources, perhaps the sole one, possessed by these islands. So, for instance, how true is it that the submerged meadows around our shores are shrinking and rotting?

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Muslim community

I attended a very interesting meeting for Maltese and foreign members of the Islamic community. They related their experiences as part of Maltese society.

In their comments, two points stood out.

One came from Maltese of North African origin and residents who do not have Maltese citizenship. They discussed the great difficulties they face to acquire Maltese citizenship or rights of residence. I guess that quite a large proportion of their complaints are justified. Take the case of a woman married to a Maltese person, who has acquired Maltese citizenship, and has been living and working here for over sixteen years: as she suffers from a medical condition, she wishes to have her sister with her at certain times. She still has not succeeded in obtaining a multiple visa that would allow her sister to visit and leave more than once.

As a staunch secularist, I did not expect the second matter that was raised to be considered as having so much importance, but the concern was clearly genuine. It related to the refusal to allow in Malta the ritual slaughter of animals for food according to methods needed for the production of halal meat.

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Just in time

The creation of free trade zones in a globalizing world continued to quicken the process by which manufacturing is organised. Components of a product began to reach factories with less difficulty. So there was less need to get them to the factory too early before they are needed for assembly.

They had better enter the factory production process while arriving there as much as possible “just in time”. It is an approach that has become very well honed.

One notes that it is also being deployed in the services sector. At the forefront of this comes air transport. Here for sure, the rise in traffic volumes has encouraged the approach. Alongside the need to ensure maximum security for airline flights, greater priority came to be placed on the need to affect the transfer of luggage and of people entering and leaving aircraft with the least possible delay. So the areas from where planes depart or land, and the corridors along which passengers move must be used as effectively as possible.

Here too, just in time management has become the rule.  

 

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