The Malta Independent 19 October 2019, Saturday

TMID Editorial: Why we have become angrier

Saturday, 17 November 2018, 10:03 Last update: about 12 months ago

We started to notice that we were becoming more short-tempered and less tolerant with each other. Even the least belligerent among us became easily irritable and conversations that used to end with a smile and a handshake turned into more heated exchanges that ended in sulks and grumpiness.

We could not understand what was happening until it finally dawned on one of us. It was only then that we could pinpoint what had led to the sudden change of atmosphere in our newsroom. And the moment one of us mentioned what could be the reason behind our lack of cordiality, the rest of us immediately agreed.

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We realised that we had become more edgy and more likely for outbursts since, a few weeks ago, excavation work started in a large area close to our offices in Birkirkara Road, St Julian’s.

Digging started well before the first one of us came to the office, probably at first light, and continued right all the way through our working day, with many of us leaving while the noise of the excavators and diggers was still piercing our ears. At times the building we work in shook and trembled, and we found ourselves unconsciously clinging to our desks. There were moments when we could not hear each other talk, and it was harder to understand what people were telling us over the phone. Instead of talking to each other from our desks, we had to get closer to be able to exchange our views.

In other words, the noise levels became unbearable, it put a strain on our mental abilities and it affected our communications and our relationships. It is, arguably, affecting our health.

And we do not know when all this is going to end.

The work being carried out is all legal, as the Planning Authority has issued the relevant permits for two villas to be pulled down and be replaced with a complex of apartments and garages. The excavation works started during summer, and when complaints were filed that this was violating the regulations stipulating that no work could be carried out in tourist areas, the contractors working on the project stopped, and only resumed when October started.

But more needs to be done for such works to be carried out with less inconvenience to people living nearby. We are taking the project next to our offices as just one example, as we are sure that there are many similar excavation works being carried out elsewhere, and that residents living nearby are being jolted out of their beds in the early morning and have to suffer the disturbance for several hours.

Unfortunately, noise pollution is not being given the attention that is required. Apart from the physical consequences that it is causing – and here we must mention the workers themselves, who have to endure so much disturbance and vibration at much closer range – it is also taking its toll on our mental well-being.

As we come to conclude this leader, the excavation work continues and we know that we will be hearing the same noise on Saturday morning while you are reading our thoughts. Thankfully, there will be no work tomorrow as it is Sunday, but we know that on Monday morning it will start again for another long week.

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