The Malta Independent 25 June 2024, Tuesday
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TMID Editorial: Ruining Gozo

Wednesday, 7 June 2023, 09:04 Last update: about 2 years ago

Former Labour Prime Minister Alfred Sant wrote a few days ago that there are strong fears that development is ruining Gozo.

The Gozitans must fight against this, if it is to be defeated, Sant wrote on Facebook, adding that the number of people who are becoming more aware of the problem is increasing.

What is being said about Gozo is the same thing that can be said about Malta. We would however go one step further than Sant - we believe that Malta and, to a large extent, Gozo have already been ruined by excessive development.


Sant urges the Gozitans to speak up about this. What we point out is that many Maltese have spoken up against over-development - and in fact we had a national protest about it a couple of Saturdays ago - but this has not stopped over-development.

The concrete jungle in Malta keeps growing higher and wider, and no amount of opposition has as yet managed to force a change in direction, simply because the government is not willing to send the message that this should stop. After Malta, it was Gozo's turn to start to be over-developed, and there's an ongoing battle there too.

Sant writes "if it is to be defeated". Well, we have to say that the environment (in the overall sense of the word) has already been defeated. Malta is no longer the attractive place it used to be; many of the picturesque places are no longer charming, largely because of the buildings that have taken up so much space and led to so many eyesores.

The same can be said about Gozo. There, over-development has not reached the same levels of Malta, but we are moving in that direction too. The small size of both islands makes the situation even worse and, with Gozo much smaller than Malta, the eyesores and environmental damage is bigger.

So Alfred Sant is right to express concern and give a voice to the many Gozitans who fear that the situation will get worse. But, given what happened in Malta, it is easy to predict that the authorities responsible will not listen.

Still, what is important is that the fight continues. It is good to see that, in spite of their limited resources and the fact that the building spree continues unabated in spite of all the effort, environmental NGOs keep up their pressure.

The protest they held late last month led to more awareness about their plight, going as far as to push their nemesis, the Malta Developers Association, to consider their own protest on the grounds that the reforms they are advocating are being ignored. We must point out that it is rather ironic that MDA president Michael Stivala says he is seeking "a level playing field". One does wonder what the eNGOs think about that.

The problem is that we have already gone beyond the point of no return. Malta, and Gozo, are suffering the consequences of weak policies, poor planning and overall greed.




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