MaltaToday, 27 Feb 2008 | LETTERS


LETTERS | Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The trash mountain

I walked out from a Qawra sea front hotel on a beautiful, crispy, moonlit evening opening my nostrils for a fresh breath of sea breeze, but to my astonishment I got a suffocating, nauseating smell arising from the Maghtab trash mountain.
It is true that I always doubted the Wasteserve billboards along the coast road, as one could not note but smoke arising from the ongoing fires, especially on a rainy day. Almost four years have passed since the closure of this dumping area and still the environment is being contaminated by noxious gases and other contaminants.
The billboard claims that gasses are being removed from the environment – but how? The gases should be trapped and then treated. Haphazardly putting a layer of clay does not trap the gases. In other countries such dumping areas are sealed by a continuous impermeable cover which traps all gases and helps in extinguishing internal fires.
The billboard claims that there is continuous monitoring of water and the environment – how true? I have been driving along the coast road at least four times a day and I have never seen any gas sampling station along the road during the last four years. Can MEPA (or WasteServe) provide us with the daily results of gases in the air? Is there a Health Authority in this country that can confirm that it is safe for me to drive toddlers along the coast road without any ill effects to the children? And how is it that workers on the Maghtab trash mountain are working in visible fumes without wearing any protective breathing apparatus? Poor blokes, they are simple breathing cancerous dioxin and other PCBs! Why were families allowed to barbecue and even swim in such a contaminated area by the dump?
The billboard claims that tests are being carried out to utilize the energy from the rubbish – but with what results? Is the incinerator on site being fired by the trapped gases? Everybody knows that rubbish decomposition provides methane, but having a few fairy Christmas lights does not provide real proof.
The billboard claims that there is movement of earth to stabilize the mountain – really? Or is this movement of earth related to the excavation of the engineered dump? How is it that a pristine area of garigue has been eliminated and another ‘earth mountain’ created? The dust arising from this earth movement could be seen as high as the mountain itself.
The Madliena/Naxxar/St Paul’s Bay population should envy that of Marsascala who have no dust, noxious gases, smells and other contaminants, contrary to what their council says. Though the Administration is claiming that the money for the upgrading of the trash mountain is coming from the EU, let me remind one and all that most of the money is that already paid by the local taxpayer. One expects that money spent is well spent and I congratulate the Prime Minister on his decision to take over the responsibility of the environment after his visit to Maghtab.
George, you have let us and the party down.

Karm Vella
St Paul’s Bay

Talk is cheap

Simon Micallef Stafrace’s diatribe against Mater Dei inefficiencies, deficiencies of staff, delays in completion, and over-budgeted costs, is typical of the MLP’s attitude that “if we did not do it, it must be wrong”.
May I remind Simon that it was the MLP who changed plans and doubled the hospital in size. It was the MLP who opposed, obstructed progress and insinuated wrongdoings when in fact it was proved otherwise.
With regard to staff shortages and/or confusion, Simon blames the government when in fact it was this same government which gave the doctors and nursing staff a good package which rank and file praised and accepted with thanks.
A new hospital of the size of Mater Dei will take some time to rid itself of minor staffing problems brought about by increased services now offered by a modern, well-equipped hospital which ranks among the best in Europe.
Patients who had to make use of its facilities and undergo procedures by our excellent doctors sing praises, yet Simon Micallef Stafrace in typical couch critic style, finds that the system has gone “haywire”. This is a contradiction because he experienced the “seriousness, care and bedside manners of the staff from top to bottom”, as he wrote. This does not appear to be the behaviour of overworked and dissatisfied staff.
Mr Stafrace’s perception of a staff hard done by, by the government which left them “in a sorry state” does not jive with the overwhelming acceptance of the deal handed to the medical staff of late.
I hope that Mr Stafrace’s ailment was minor and that he will not need further interventions by a demoralized medical team. Dr Sant lately underwent a serious medical intervention and to all appearances he seems to be doing just fine. He was obviously looked after by the same medical and nursing teams. Could it be that because it was Dr Sant, those involved forgot about ‘the sorry state the government has left them in’?
He too chooses to criticise Mater Dei after declaring it ‘state of the art’ last August. 
Talk is cheap – idle talk is cheaper.
Joe Martinelli
Ontario, Canada

Undecided? Hardly…

In the MaltaToday Midweek edition (20 February 2008) I read that the Prime Minister is addressing undecided voters. I must be considered as one of these, as I too received a letter from the Prime Minister inviting me to Villa Arrigo.
Not only that, but a few days ago I got a phone call from some girl at Castille on my number which is unlisted in the telephone directory, the CD and the online directory. When I enquired how they had got my number she first claimed she got it from the electoral register, and then off some survey the party had made.
The silly girl then said that I needn’t worry as it was “confidential” as if anything that gets in the hands of busybodies such as a political party can be described as “confidential”.
Anyway the Nationalist Party need not worry. I am not an undecided voter. I know exactly who I am not voting for! Of course who I am voting for is my business…

Ronald Cauchi

PN’s aura of class shattered at university

PN students at the university have confirmed what I wrote some time ago, on 28 October 2007 in another newspaper (Illum), namely, that the party which in the past was considered to be the party “tal-puliti” had undergone a metamorphosis into one “tal-hamalli” by their unruly, at times vulgar, behaviour towards Dr Alfred Sant during what was supposed to be a civil debate between the four party leaders at the university hall.
There were times when the PN and its acolytes in the media used to chide the Labour party for the unruly behaviour of some of its supporters. Those times have long gone by – a good 16 years at least! But today unruly behaviour has again raised its ugly head – this time within GonziPN and in the presence of Dr Gonzi!
Instead of telling those Nationalist students to show respect to the other three party leaders, particularly Dr Alfred Sant – who was the main target of the PN students’ vitriol – Dr Gonzi remained silent and allowed those PN students (the crème de la crème of the PN) to continue to holler at Dr Sant. Shame on you too Dr Gonzi!
One good thing though emanated out of the bedlam created by those unruly students – the aura of class, good manners and Christian values of which the PN and its disciples in the media used to pride themselves in the past, has been shattered forever. This is another “record” to add to a long list of negative records under Dr Gonzi’s leadership of GonziPN!

Eddy Privitera

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MaltaToday News
27 February 2008

San Gwann mother stabbed to death - 15-year-old daughter arrested

PN accuses Labour of ‘profiteering’ from first-time buyers

Josie Muscat outlines AN’s ‘10 commandments’ for economy

PN winning battle for education

European Commission approves €700,000 for redundant workers

If flowers are dying at Maghtab, how will Sant grow turf for golf?

Labour promises VAT-free computers for children

Businesses will no longer inconvenience neighbouring residents – Alternattiva

Court rejects AD application to stop re-scheduling political broadcasts

‘You are more precious than oil’ – Gonzi

On the record

Women’s tax credits now even for family employment

Daphne reports blogger to police over ‘joke’

Two PN billboards set on fire

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