News | Sunday, 20 September 2009

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MEPA still reviewing land reclamation studies

Studies assessing the feasibility of artificial islands, an idea once touted by Lawrence Gonzi, are still being reviewed by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.
MEPA has already spent €403,000 on studies to assess the feasibility of the artificial islands, first proposed back in June 2005 on the same day Gonzi put forward his plans for a golf course at Xaghra l-Hamra.
The studies, carried out by ADI Associates and British experts Scott Wilson, surveyed two sites off the coast at Maghtab, and another to the southeast. The areas were surveyed on the effects of waves, currents and dispersal of sediments, as well as the technical, economic and environmental constraints of land reclamation.
Environmentalists fear artificial islands would fuel the demand for construction waste,providing a quick-fix solution rather than reusing and recycling waste.
Land reclamation in the form of artificial islands, was also proposed again in the newly proposed Waste Management Strategy – this time as embellishment for beaches.
The construction of an ‘engineered containment structure’ to protect the marine environment is the costliest part of land reclamation. Such structures range from €34,000 to €124,200 per metre. Reclamation for development purposes is even more expensive.

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