Gozo tunnel will bring destruction and increase pollution – AD
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The Gozo tunnel “will bring more destruction and increase pollution and there are other solutions,” Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party, has said.
In a statement today, Carmel Cacopardo, AD Chairperson, said that “while keeping in focus the need to address and facilitate sustainable mobility between the islands of Malta and Gozo, the proposed tunnel below the seabed between the islands is no solution.”
He pointed out, “it is rather the creation of more problems both at Ta’ Kenuna on the Gozo side, as well at L-Gherien on the Maltese side.”
Carmel Cacopardo was addressing a press conference at l-Gherien, in the limits of Mellieha – where he said, according to information, the entrance to the tunnel will be sited at the Malta end – very close to l-Imbordin at St. Paul’s Bay.
Cacopardo continued by saying that as well as the large quantity of rubble – approximately one and a half million cubic metres – “on the Malta side the tunnel will also be a threat to the Mizieb aquifer, the only section of our natural water reserves still in a relatively good condition and it will impact the Pwales valley as this will have to host an average of around 9,000 vehicle movements daily.”
“The pollution generated by these vehicles will undoubtedly impact the agriculture and ecology of the valley,” he added. “As a result of noise pollution, light pollution and air pollution by the generated traffic the tunnel will impact the Simar Nature Reserve, situated a few hundred metres from the proposed tunnel, at the far end of the valley.”
According to the AD Chairperson, “it has been observed, from technical studies in hand as well as from sampling of rock in the area, that the tunnel will be bored through the troglodytic hamlet (L-Gherien) or very close to it, meaning that another part of our heritage will be obliterated.”
He pointed out that the tunnel will facilitate the movement of cars between the islands, “as it is the number of cars using the tunnel which will generate the income of those investing in this ill-advised project.”
“This runs against both letter and spirit of the National Transport Masterplan 2025 approved in 2016 and which establishes the reduction of cars on our roads as a primary objective.”
Carmel Cacopardo stated that AD agrees that the problematic mobility between Malta and Gozo has to be properly addressed. “However, this has to be carried out in a manner that creates the least number of problems.”
According to AD, “the only solution which achieves this aim is the introduction of a fast ferry service between the islands: between Mgarr in Gozo and various points along the Malta coast, which includes Xemxija, Sliema and Valletta.”
“This service must be complimented with an upgraded public transport between these points and the rest of the island.”
It is essential, concluded Carmel Cacopardo, “that solutions to our transport problems take a long-term view in order that future generations are bequeathed less problems that we have inherited from our predecessors Government should take note and desist from ignoring the dissent on its tunnel plans.”
Photograph by Alain Salvary