The following article has just been published online, depicted a bulldozer clearing pebbles off Ramla l-Hamra – a picturesque beach in the Maltese island of Gozo. Will any of the readers even flinch or be surprised if I tell them that this illegal operation has been sanctioned by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority?
You may be asking why I used the term illegal…it has probably something to do with the fact that the entire area of Ramla l-Hamra is protected under national legislation – as can be seen by this short description on the MEPA website (you can also see the list of laws governing this site whould you be interested). You do need a degree to understand that anything protected should be…erm…protected from such things.
This is not the first time MEPA sent ‘Ganni tal-Bulldozer’ to destroy a protected area…remember the famous Game of Thrones filming fiasco back in November of 2010, where they sent Ganni and his bulldozer to remove sediment off important (and protected) archaeological sites in Dwejra, Gozo?
Also, as a side note to general Maltese public, a CLEAN beach does not mean not having the presence of stones or sea grass (alka), but a beach free of the human waste people leave behind.
Stones, pebbles, rocks, sea grass debris and all the natural things washed up from the sea are not a source of disease or harm to the beach. They are important for the health of the beach – sea grass and other organic debris provide nutrients to an otherwise deprived habitat in the sand, while pebbles and larger rocks allow the sand to not be lost or swept away when there are stronger currents.
Someone needs to explain why MEPA and the government (both PN and PL it seems) have this perverted affinity towards using bulldozers and similar heavy machinery in protected areas.
I personally want answers, rational ones, at how this illegal act has been sanctioned by a government body – or will the new MEPA chairman tell us that it is ‘just bare rock’ as he did in the Dwejra case?
Malta desperately needs to get served by some harsh environmental fines soon, it really needs to grow up and learn a thing or too about environmental conservation. What do you think?