The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

Disused landfill on outskirts of Zurrieq to make way for new nature park

Albert Galea Monday, 5 August 2019, 18:34 Last update: about 3 years ago

A disused landfill in Fulija valley on the outskirts of Zurrieq will be rehabilitated with thousands of trees and shrubs to become a national park, Minister for the Environment Jose Herrera announced on Monday as works on site continued.

The project, 85% of which is EU funded, will see approximately 95,000 square metres be adorned with a total of 45,000 indigenous trees and shrubs, most of which will be endemic.

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Herrera said that he sees this project as part of his vision for the country's environment. He said that infrastructural projects which are of the national interest cannot be stopped as they will negatively affect people's quality of life. However, he said, these losses have to be compensated through projects such as these.

He noted that by the end of the project, the site will be going back to the people.

He noted that in the next few months he hopes to have a similar announcement to implement new laws which would see land degraded due to construction or where works cannot be carried out due to enforcement notices taken for afforestation projects. He said there are approximately 1,000 tumuli of such land in existence.

Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds Aaron Farrugia said that this project will cost some €4 million, and will give a derelict site back to Maltese and Gozitan families.

He said that he was looking forward to securing funds in the coming EU Budget Period to keep having the environment as a priority.

John Luke Zarb, the project architect, explained that a capping layer will be built to give a layer of soil where plants can eventually be planted. Vegetation in the valley will be planted between the two present mounds.

Glass will also be used as inert material in this capping process, hence not using more material and reducing the carbon footprint.

The site was used as a landfill ever since the 1970s, with over a million tonnes of waste being dumped on the site, some of it glass, up until it ceased operations in 1996.

Works on the project started last March, with the rehabilitation expected to be completed by 2020 and the capping and landscaping by 2023.

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