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‘Xebbajtuna!’: National Environmental Protest Demanding Better Planning Announced For End Of May In Valletta

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A national protest demanding urgent environmental and planning reform has just been announced by eight local eNGOs.

The protest, titled Xebbajtuna! Bidla fl-Ambjent u l-Ippjanar ISSA!, will be held on Saturday 27 May 2023, starting from the Triton Fountain at 10.30am.

Besides urging the general public to participate, the organisations are also inviting groups around Malta and Gozo, both formal and informal, to endorse the protest by sending an email on info@xebbajtuna.org or filling in the online form on the website www.xebbajtuna.org.

Groups can include non-governmental organisations as well as residents, students, workers, and farmers: all non-partisan groups whose aims are in line with the demands of the protest are invited to join.

“We are living in a state of emergency that threatens our personal and environmental well-being due to the reckless rates of construction on our islands,” they said. 

“No space is free from greed: tall and dreary blocks of flats in urban centres, commercial buildings, villas, and swimming pools in the middle of the countryside, towers in congested areas, construction encroachment on the island of Gozo, and an assault on the natural reserve of Comino.”

“The people of Malta and Gozo are bearing the grave consequences of environmental devastation. Widespread environmental destruction is resulting in physical and mental health problems, frustrated children who have nowhere to roam, and a growing desire among young people to leave the country.”

“We are in this mess for one clear reason. Behind this wave of environmental destruction lies a web of politicians and developers who have created a system that serves the profit of the few instead of the common good,” the organisers said. 

In this national protest, the organisations will demand the following immediate actions:

1. to change planning policies – such as those allowing buildings on ODZ, the height and intensity of buildings, the height of hotels, and the scheduling of sites of historic interest and value – in order to stop the wave of construction that does not respect context, heritage, natural environment, farmers and residents;

2. to radically reform all institutions responsible for the environment, planning, and lands, so that they start functioning in a serious and transparent manner and independently from politicians and businesses;

3. to build an economic model that seeks a better quality of life for everyone instead of endless economic growth based on the profits of the few.

The organisations launching the protest are Moviment Graffitti, Friends of the Earth Malta, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Nature Trust Malta-FEE, Għawdix, BirdLife Malta and Ramblers’ Association Malta.

Article Source & Images: Lovin Malta